BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — A $25 million civil suit claims St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport was negligent and reckless when a patient was abused last year.
A victim says he was raped while he was severely medicated, and woke up while Gonzalo Flores, a certified nursing assistant, was still in the act. Flores has been charged, and according to the arrest warrant, admitted to the attacks. Now the victim is suing the hospital.
Attorney Antonio Ponvert says his client and his wife are “dealing with tremendous shame, humiliation, and pain.”
“They’re afraid of what may have happened to him when he was unconscious and helpless and medicated, both on the day that he was assaulted that we know about, and during the 30 days prior to that when we know Mr. Flores had access to him,” said Ponvert.
Flores worked at the hospital for three years. Ponvert says another victim reported an assault in March, and the suit says the hospital tried to cover it up. His client was attacked on June 7.
“At the time Mr. Flores was arrested for each of these assaults he confessed, and not only did he confess to the assaults he was arrested for, but he confessed to having sexually assaulted multiple other patients at the hospital,” said Ponvert. “He had access to hundreds and hundreds of medicated, vulnerable, sick, helpless patients.”
Senior Vice President of St. Vincent’s, Dianne Auger, says when they hired Flores, he passed a background check.
“We take patient safety at St. Vincent’s very seriously,” said Auger. “It’s our highest priority.”
She says they did get a complaint of abuse in March, but the victim couldn’t identify anyone. She says they investigated and couldn’t validate the claim. When they learned about the abuse in June, they took action.
“As soon as we knew that that behavior occurred we took the appropriate steps, terminated the employee, contacted the police, and continue to cooperate with the police through the investigation,” said Auger.
Ponvert says there was a similar case in California where the victim was awarded $65 million.
“In my view, the jury is going to award a lot of money, and I think $25 million is the beginning of what that might be,” said Ponvert.
Ponvert says there is video evidence that documented the abuse. Auger says that’s not true.
The hospital has 30 days to respond to this civil suit.
To view the graphic court documents, click here.