Doctor abuse trial moves toward final arguments

The Associated Press /

THE DALLES — Testimony is nearing an end in an $18 million lawsuit brought by three women who allege a Columbia Gorge hospital and two executives didn’t take action that could have prevented the crimes of an anesthesiologist now serving a 23-year term for sex abuse and rape.

Judge Paul Crowley told jurors to expect closing arguments on Monday in the trial, which is now in its third week.

The suit concerns the acts of Dr. Frederick Field, who pleaded guilty in September 2012 to sedating and abusing patients and employees over four years.

In all, a dozen women reported abuse. Ten have sought compensation. The hospital reports two have agreed to settlements. The terms were not disclosed. Five additional trials are planned later.

In the current trial, Indiana hospital management consultant John McGinty testified this week that the hospital didn’t initially have enough documentation before that to remove Dr. Field’s hospital privileges, and if they had tried to, they would have faced legal challenges.