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Lancaster General Hospital failed to report, investigate patient sexual abuse allegations

Written by Brett Sholtis/Transforming Health | Jan 2, 2019 6:22 PM

In recently public documents, Department of Health says Lancaster General Hospital failed to report and investigate four instances of alleged patient abuse, including two allegations of sexual assault. 

The unannounced health department inspection at the  Penn Health-affiliated hospital came days after police arrested Lancaster General pulmonary therapist Shawn Moyer while at the hospital. The 30-year-old Moyer was charged with abuse of a care-dependent person, indecent assault, open lewdness, indecent exposure and invasion of privacy. 

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Police have charged 30-year-old Shawn Moyer with five misdemeanors related to an alleged September sexual abuse incident at Lancaster General Hospital. (Crimewatch PA)

The five misdemeanor charges stem from a Sept. 12, 2018 alleged incident inside a patient care room, police said in a news release posted on Crimewatch PA.

"An adult male was awoken when he felt another person touching his genitals. The touching was described as done in a effort to manipulate/ stimulate the victim and not in a clinical fashion. When the victim was able to open his eyes he saw an unknown hospital employee with his own penis exposed at the same time that he was touching the victim. The suspect ran from the victim's room when he realized the victim had become conscious."

At the hospital, inspectors found three other instances where Lancaster General officials failed to properly investigate patient complaints and failed to properly notify authorities, Department of Health said in its report. 

Those allegations include:

  • "An investigation was started by the facility on July 18, 2017. A review of the facility documentation revealed 'Patient self reported on July 21, 2017 ... that ___ (title redacted) allegedly fondled (the patient's) genitals for 5 to 10 minutes while applying topical medication to a rash...'"
  • "An investigation was started by the facility on June 7, 2018. A review of the facility documentation revealed '...Per patient while (the patient) was at the elevator bank the ... nurse caring for (the patient) grabbed and pulled (the patient) backwards...Patient was upset that ... nurse put hands on (the patient) in rough manner...'"
  • "An investigation was started by the facility on August 7, 2017. A review of facility documentation revealed 'Wife was visiting pt (patient) and became angry and began striking pt. The pt was able to restrain ...wife's hand and the staff immediately intervened.'"

Hospitals are required to notify police about any cases of reported sexual assault, said Department of Health spokesman Nate Wardle. In situations potentially involving child or elder abuse, they also must notify the state Department of Human Services.

Lancaster General spokesman John Lines declined to comment on what he said is "a personnel matter."

In its report, the state said it is requiring Lancaster General to form a correction plan to ensure future incidents are properly reported and investigated.  

At the health department, Wardle noted that people concerned about hospital staff behavior can make an anonymous complaint by calling 1-800-254-5164.

"Incidents like this do not occur often, but we encourage anyone with concerns about a health care facility, including hospitals, to contact the department.," Wardle said in an email. "Anyone who is a victim of sexual assault should also call their local police department."

Published in Lancaster, News

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