May 30, 2020

Caribou hospital named in lawsuit> Estate charges abuse of disabled patient

CARIBOU — A former nurse at Cary Medical Center has been sued by the estate of a severely physically handicapped man who allegedly was sexually abused by the male nurse while in the hospital.

Named as a defendant in the lawsuit was Scott Thomas, who lives in the Portland area, according to the civil complaint filed earlier this month in Aroostook County Superior Court.

The hospital and the city of Caribou, which owns the municipal hospital, also were named as defendants.

The lawsuit was filed by the estate of David Doody of Caribou, represented by Robert A. Doody, his brother. Robert Doody declined this weekend to comment about the lawsuit.

According to court documents separate from the complaint, $300,000 in damages are being sought.

No criminal charges have been brought against Thomas, and the hospital also has declined to comment on why he no longer works at Cary and whether he is working somewhere else.

According to the complaint, the 54-year-old David Doody, who suffered from severe cerebral palsy, was a patient at Cary Medical Center in July of last year.

During his hospital stay, Doody was operated on twice for prostate problems.

While in the hospital, Thomas allegedly went into the patient’s room, shut the door and approached the patient’s bed. Thomas then exposed himself in front of the face of the patient, who “recoiled with revulsion and fear,” according to the complaint.

The patient died about two weeks later from various causes, “which had been aggravated greatly by the offensive action,” the suit alleged.

According to the state Board of Nursing, Thomas’ registered nursing license is active until July 2001. A clerk would not confirm Friday whether any action was pending against Thomas, but appeared interested in a reporter’s inquiry.

Efforts to reach Thomas were unsuccessful during the weekend. No answer to the complaint has been filed, and no attorney has been identified as representing Thomas.

It is unknown whether Thomas continues to work in health care.

In the two-count complaint, the plaintiff’s estate claimed that the nurse, hospital and city were responsible for the intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent in allowing the conduct.

While the patient was hospitalized, the defendants’ “extreme and outrageous conduct” was “an unwarranted and flagrant abuse of authority and influence,” the complaint alleged.

Further, the actions of the defendants caused the patient severe mental and emotional distress, physical illness, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of his life, the complaint claimed.

Filing the complaint was Peter Kelley, a Caribou attorney. Kelley was on vacation and could not be reached for comment.

Because the case is in litigation, hospital officials also declined comment, according to hospital spokesman Bill Flagg.

“We have very little to say because of patient confidentiality,” Flagg said.

The hospital spokesman also declined to discuss why Thomas left Cary or whether the hospital took any action against the nurse.

Representing the hospital is Mark LaVoie, a Portland attorney. LaVoie said a denial to the lawsuit was mailed Friday and should be filed with the court this week.

“My early take is that there is no basis for the allegations,” said LaVoie.

Caribou City Manager Richard Mattila also declined to discuss the suit.

No hearings or trial dates have been scheduled as yet in the matter.

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