The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

August 23, 2012

Lewisburg nurse: Doctor fondled me as others watched

LEWISBURG — A Lewisburg nurse is suing a prominent Valley gynecologist for “physical, mental and emotional” damages, claiming that he groped her breasts in front of several nurses during a surgical procedure in which she was assisting him.

Kay Zlockie, a licensed nurse practitioner and midwife, filed the lawsuit July 24 in Union County Court against Dr. Fred Teichman and Central Penn Women’s Health Care, of Lewisburg, over the incident, stated to have happened May 30 and witnessed by three other nurses in the operating room.

On Aug. 13, Union County Judge Michael Hudock ordered that a preliminary injunction issued Aug. 3 frees Zlockie from a non-compete clause in her contract with Teichman, her former employer, which she said allowed her to work only for him.

That means Teichman and Central Penn Women’s Health are prohibited from enforcing the non-compete clause until further ruling by the court.

The Daily Item obtained a copy of all court documents Wednesday from the Union County Prothonotary’s Office.

The lawsuit states that on May 30, during a surgery, Teichman told Zlockie she was sweating profusely from her breasts, obtained a towel and wiped the sweat away from Zlockie’s clothed breasts.

Teichman told Zlockie this was necessary to “maintain the surgical field” and that he wanted to remove all contaminants the sweat on her breasts might contain, the lawsuit states. In doing so, the lawsuit states that Teichman fondled Zlockie’s breasts.

According to the lawsuit, “at least three nurses in the operating room” that day “observed Dr. Teichman’s conduct and were appalled by what they witnessed.” The lawsuit also states Michelle Crawford, a circulating nurse, “was so appalled by the event that she approached Kay Zlockie after the surgical procedure was concluded and ... commented that she could not believe what she had just observed.”

Attorney Eric Suter of the CGA Law Firm PC in York represents Teichman. Zlockie’s claims “are frivolous and utterly lacking in merit,” he said Thursday.

Teichman and Central Penn Women’s Health “have always been, continue to be and will remain committed to providing the highest quality patient care,” Suter said. “The outrageous claims of a disgruntled former employee will not alter that commitment.”

Suter said he will vigorously defend his client, “and our day in court can’t arrive quickly enough.”

The suit claims that Teichman was fired for his “habitual use of inappropriate sexual and deviant language in the operating room and concern for sexual encounters and/or assaults and batteries of patients and/or non-patients.”

In the suit, Zlockie’s attorneys do not explain what evidence they have of this inappropriate behavior beyond the alleged incident involving Zlockie.

The suit also states that “Dr. Teichman has a history of using sexually explicit language in the operating room, making advances of sexual nature toward nurses and other patients.” However, the lawsuit does not give explicit examples or cites documentation of such incidents.

It was due to this alleged behavior, the lawsuit states, that Evangelical Community Hospital fired Teichman on June 19.

On June 20, Teichman announced to his staff that he either had lost or was suspended of his admitting privileges at Evangelical, according to court documents.

A statement Thursday from Evangelical said Teichman is “an independent physician and not employed by the hospital. Therefore, he was not terminated from employment.”  

Evangelical also said matters relating to Teichman “are part of a confidential medical staff process governed by that entity’s bylaws. It is the hospital’s policy to allow due process of the medical staff procedure before making any additional statements.”

Zlockie began working for Teichman on Oct. 25, 2011, according to the lawsuit, and that day entered into her non-compete agreement with the doctor.

Teichman fired Zlockie on June 20 because he said he was ending the obstetrical work, including midwifery practice, at Central Penn. On June 21, as Zlockie cleaned her office, Teichman asked her where she would be going to work, and made it clear that she was not bound to any contract with him, according to court documents.

Zlockie said she presented documentation, which she had signed, of her termination to Karen Teichman, the doctor’s wife, who was Central Penn’s corporate secretary. Karen Teichman did not return the signed document and has kept it to date, despite Zlockie’s numerous requests, according to the injunction.

Without the signed document, a prospective employer could not hire Zlockie until there was clarification or renunciation from Teichman of “restrictive covenants” of Zlockie’s previous employment, including a non-compete agreement.

In an order dated Aug. 13, Hudock ruled that Teichman and Central Penn Women’s Health should not interfere with Zlockie’s efforts to get another job. An advertisement in Thursday’s edition of The Daily Item indicates that Lewisburg Gynecology and Obstetrics has hired Zlockie.

Karen Teichman also is named a defendant, claiming she “knew or should have known” that her husband had committed inappropriate sexual advances and other unwanted action toward patients and other employees, especially Zlockie.

In addition to being released from her non-compete agreement, court documents state that Zlockie is seeking monetary damages for lost earnings, emotional damages and costs of “ongoing treatment with medical specialists, both physicians and mental health care professionals for the duration of her life.”

Zlockie has been a licensed registered nurse since 1977 and a certified midwife since 1985, according to the lawsuit.  

Calls to Zlockie’s attorney, John Clary Jr. of Fine, Wyatt & Carey of Scranton, were not returned by deadline Thursday.

 

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