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Lawsuit filed against Ascension Health, nurse after he inappropriately touched, recorded patient

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Posted at 2:46 PM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 13:10:42-04

RHINELANDER, Wis. — A lawsuit has been filed against Ascension Health and one of its former nurses after that nurse inappropriately touched and recorded a patient.

Evan Sheedy, 32, pleaded guilty to capturing an intimate representation and invading privacy earlier this year in connection to the incident.

According to the lawsuit, filed on behalf of Jane Doe and Health Partners Insurance Company, Sheedy worked for Ascension Health in Rhinelander on January 10, 2021.

At that time, Doe had been in the hospital with broken ribs and other injuries after she was thrown off of her horse. Medical professionals had given her an IV with morphine, which she could self-administer.

The lawsuit states on that date Sheedy went into Doe's room and asked her to administer a dose of morphine and said he needed to bathe her. Doe did so, and claims that dose had her feeling fuzzy and intoxicated.

Sheedy then instructed Doe to wait for him in the bathroom, according to the lawsuit. Sheedy left the room to get supplies from the supply closet. He retrieved bathing wipes and a hospital gown. However, before leaving the closet, the lawsuit claims Sheedy took out his phone, started recording, and placed the phone in his front pocket with the camera facing out.

According to the lawsuit, the video shows Sheedy then leaving the closet and going back to Doe's room, closing the door behind him.

Doe went in and opened the bathroom door, revealing Doe sitting on the toilet in her gown, hooked up to IVs.

The lawsuit states Doe was visibly and audibly intoxicated, and Sheedy was aware. He then unclasped Doe's gown and prepared the bathing wipes.

Before cleaning Doe, the lawsuit says Sheedy attempted to make Doe more comfortable by saying he does this all the time.

Sheedy proceeded by cleaning Doe's back. Meanwhile, his phone was still in his front pocket, capturing the entire interaction.

Nurse Sheedy then handed some wipes to Doe, instructing her to clean herself inside her gown, which he helped unclasp. He positioned himself in front of Doe and recorded her wiping herself under her gown, according to the lawsuit.

The legal documents claim Doe was intoxicated from the morphine and believed what was happening was "normal routine." She was unaware she was being recorded and was unaware she had the right to refuse bathing care.

After Doe finished using the hospital wipes, Nurse Sheedy began to replace the adhesives for the heart monitor Doe was wearing. In doing so, he touched her chest area and reached inside her gown to touch her.

The lawsuit says Nurse Sheedy made Doe believe this was standard care by stating "sorry" as he touched her.

Sheedy then went and completely removed Doe's gown, continuing to record her body.

According to the lawsuit, Sheedy then began to help Doe put a new gown on while touching her. He then said, while touching her, "nice" and "I noticed... it looks like you are in good shape." He then assisted her back to bed, while capturing her name and medical information on camera.

About one month after this interaction, the lawsuit states Sheedy was arrested when his home IP address was pinged in a child pornography probe.

Officials got a search warrant for Sheedy's home and electronics, and while searching, officials found the video of Doe.

Law enforcement spoke to Sheedy, who admitted to recording Doe because he found her attractive. Officers also spoke to Doe and showed her the video. She immediately identified herself and recalled feeling dizzy and not having full capacities at the time due to the morphine.

She admitted to being unaware of the video and had not given Sheedy permission to record her. Sheedy was then arrested and charged.

Shortly after, Sheedy was charged with child pornography in a non-related incident. Those charges, according to the lawsuit, caused even more emotional damage to Doe.

Now, Doe is filing a lawsuit against Sheedy and Ascension for their cellphone policy, which they claim was not enforced.

According to the lawsuit, Ascension has a policy where all staff have to leave their phones at the nurse's station or in other designated areas when going into patients' private rooms. However, the lawsuit claims those policies were never enforced.

The lawsuit states, "Ascension St. Mary's Hospital's failure to supervise its staff, including Nurse Sheedy, with respect to patient privacy, patient rights, patient cares, and use of cellphones, was a proximate cause of the injuries and damages sustained by Jane Doe."

The accusations within the lawsuit are as follows:

  • Breach of medical privacy against the hospital
  • Negligence against Ascension St. Mary's Hospital
  • Negligent hiring, training, and supervision against the hospital
  • Battery-offensive contact against Evan Sheedy
  • Negligence against Evan Sheedy
  • Invasion of privacy against Evan Sheedy
  • Punitive Damages

Correction: TMJ4 News initially reported that this incident happened in 2022. The correct year was 2021. That has been corrected above.

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