Woman testifies about operating room sex assault

A woman who accuses a Toronto doctor of sexually assaulting her while she was under his care in an operating room, says she was initially rebuffed by the hospital when she tried to file a complaint.

The 41-year-old woman described in a Toronto courtroom on Thursday what happened when she had hysterectomy surgery in February of 2010.

Her anesthesiologist was Dr. George Doodnaught — the man accused of sexually assaulting 21 women.

The woman testified she was sedated, but conscious, during the procedure.

She felt Doodnaught reach under her hospital gown and fondle her right breast, before the assault escalated, she testified.

"I felt myself then being smothered. I opened my eyes and Doodnaught's face was over top of me ... he was kissing me ... his tongue was in my mouth."

She told the court she recalled being unable to move and was shocked by what was happening with other doctors and nurses just steps away.

"I said to him, 'What about the other people and he lifted his head a little and said 'I know how to be discreet.'"

The woman told the court the next thing she remembered was the feeling and smell of the doctor forcing himself on her.

"[H]e had his penis in my mouth. I smelled his body and I remember it turning my stomach."

She said, "I just remember thinking, you bastard."

Doodnaught has pleaded not guilty to the 21 charges against him.

The 64-year-old doctor is accused of sexually assaulting 21 women over a four-year period from 2006 to 2010. It is alleged that all but one of the assaults occurred at North York General Hospital where Doodnaught worked as an anesthesiologist since 1981.

The complainants — who range in age from 25 to 75 — allege that Doodnaught assaulted them while they were on the operating table, with other doctors and nurses inside the operating room, but blocked from seeing what he was doing because of a curtain, known as a sterile screen.

The 1x1.5-metre curtain separates the sterile and non-sterile parts of the operating room.

The woman testified that the day after her surgery, Doodnaught woke her up in her hospital room by caressing her cheek. She told the court she was scared when she saw him and when he asked if she remembered anything from the day before she lied and said no.

The woman testified that she complained to the head of anesthesiology at North York General, only to be told Doodnaught had no prior complaints and was known to be a caring, "touchy-feely" kind of doctor.

"I said to him, 'There's a difference between being touchy-feely and putting your penis in someone's mouth.'"

The woman testified she was eventually told there had been previous complaints against Doodnaught.

The hospital and police both launched investigations, ultimately leading to the current charges against Doodnaught.

The allegations from the other 20 women are similar.

Female patients claim Doodnaught kissed them, fondled their breasts and placed his penis in their mouths and hands.

The women were sedated, but conscious while undergoing various surgeries on their lower bodies.

Most of the charges surfaced after news of Doodnaught's arrest in 2010.

The trial continues.

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