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Surgeon Accused Of Trying To Blackmail Nurse Practitioner For Sex

Discussion in 'Doctors Cafe' started by Mahmoud Abudeif, Jul 29, 2021.

  1. Mahmoud Abudeif

    Mahmoud Abudeif Golden Member

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    A nurse practitioner from Wilkes County, North Carolina, filed a lawsuit against her direct supervisor and prominent surgeon, Jon Thompson, MD, claiming that he attempted to blackmail her into having sex with him twice a month for a year.

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    According to the complaint, Thompson asked the nurse practitioner to meet him in his truck on June 11; there, he allegedly admitted to stalking her, and threatened to send audio and video recordings of her private conversations with another person -- that he had taken non-consensually -- to members of her family if she did not agree to his advances.

    The two had worked together at Wake Forest Baptist Health and its affiliate, Wilkes Medical Center, since 2017. Until June of this year, their relationship had remained strictly professional and platonic, the lawsuit stated. Over the course of their working relationship, they had also developed friendly, social relationships with each other's spouses.

    But a month before their June 11 conversation, Thompson had allegedly disclosed to his accuser that he was having marital problems, telling her that he found her attractive and asking her if she wanted to pursue a relationship outside of work. When he asked her if his request made her uncomfortable, she said yes; Thompson apologized. She believed the incident was a one-off comment, and offered that she had perhaps misunderstood Thompson.

    Notably, in the year leading up to these incidents, Thompson served as her physician on multiple occasions. He had surgically removed her gallbladder in March 2020 and performed a breast examination -- monitored by another nurse -- later that same year.

    After presenting his blackmail plot to her in their June 11 conversation, Thompson reportedly suggested that the two should immediately drive to his apartment to go have "some fun," as they did not have any surgeries scheduled for the rest of the day. Thompson also told her that "he would help her obtain bigger bonuses from their employer," the complaint stated, "and that their professional work relationship would not change because he knew she would 'compartmentalize' the sexual relationship he demanded from her."

    In response, the nurse practitioner told Thompson that she needed time to think about his proposal; Thompson agreed, giving her only 3 days to come to a decision, or he'd send the surreptitious recordings to her husband and the rest of her family. He also allegedly insinuated that her job would be at risk if she turned him down.

    She told Thompson during this conversation that what he was doing was blackmail, but he told her that "he was not worried about his job because as a surgeon he could pack up and go to work anywhere," the lawsuit claimed.

    After 3 days passed, the accuser presented Thompson with more questions about his proposition. She asserted that, in response, he played her some of the recordings he had taken to prove the seriousness of his threats. He was reportedly nervous that she was recording this June 14 conversation, and "placed his hands on her waist in an aggressive manner without her consent," the complaint stated.

    The next day, her husband accompanied her to a previously scheduled medical appointment at Wilkes Medical Center. There, Thompson approached her husband, asking him for his contact information and email address. It's alleged that Thompson texted his accuser's husband later that day, and sent friend requests on Facebook to both her husband and her grandfather.

    On June 16, the lawsuit stated, she met with Wake Forest Baptist Health's senior employee relations consultants and lodged an official complaint of workplace sexual harassment against Thompson. According to the complaint, Wake Forest Baptist Health terminated Thompson's employment 2 days later after he admitted that the accusations were, indeed, true.

    "Wake Forest Baptist Health is proud to have this nurse practitioner as one of our dedicated teammates," a spokesperson wrote in an email to MedPage Today. The spokesperson confirmed Thompson's June 18 termination, adding, "we encourage all our teammates to immediately report unacceptable behavior. We immediately investigate and address such concerns to protect our colleagues."

    Sexual harassment against nurses by the physicians with whom they work isn't out of the ordinary, according to a report from 2018. In an analysis of 6,200 healthcare professionals, one in three nurses reported experiencing sexual harassment from doctors; about 25% of these reports resulted in some type of investigation. However, 74% of those who reported sexual harassment also stated that no action was taken in response to their complaints.

    The nurse practitioner is seeking at least $75,000 in monetary relief, as well as punitive damages against Thompson after he caused her to suffer "severe emotional distress in the form of sleeplessness, anxiety, depression, embarrassment, and shame, for which she has sought and is currently seeking psychological counseling," her attorney wrote in the complaint.

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