Widgets Magazine

Stanford Health Care faces lawsuits after molestation incidents

Stanford Health Care is currently facing two lawsuits related to the molestation of patients under anesthesia: one filed by the mother of a victim, and another by an employee alleging he was terminated for reporting these crimes.

Robert Lastinger, a former anesthesia technician at Stanford Health Care (SHC), was sentenced to a year in prison last June for molesting four male patients under anesthesia. He pleaded no contest to two of the four counts of sexual battery for which he was charged.  

Attorney Paul Matiasic is representing two of Lastinger’s victims. One victim’s trial is scheduled for January, while the second victim’s case was filed last week. One of Matiasic’s clients was a minor 16 years old at the time of the abuse on March 31, 2015. Mastiasic emphasized that SHC employees witnessed Lastinger abuse another patient 11 days before the incident with the 16-year-old.

“Had [SHC] done the right thing and reported it, as they were legally obligated to do, you wouldn’t be talking to me about this second victim, or the third victim, or the fourth victim, and that makes it all the more tragic,” Matiasic said.

According to Mastiac, it is a crime under California law for nurses to fail to report the sexual misconduct of anesthesia technicians.

Matiastic hopes that the lawsuit will serve to “reinforce [the SHC staff’s] duties under the law as mandatory reporters, and to create an environment where they’re not going to be worried about losing their jobs or being demoted or having some other type of retaliatory action taken against them as a result of doing the right thing.”

Former SHC manager George Baez, represented by attorney Angela Alioto, filed the second lawsuit. Baez believes he was fired for reporting Lastinger’s crimes.

Any claim that SHC knew that Robert Lastinger was a predator and did nothing is false,” Stanford Health Care wrote in an official statement in response.

“Mr. Baez’s termination had nothing to do with his minor involvement with any hospital investigation,” the statement continues. “It is undisputed that as soon as SHC learned of the allegations of inappropriate conduct by one of our anesthesia technicians, SHC removed the employee, launched an internal investigation, and contacted local authorities per our protocols.”

SHC maintains that it did not see formal copies of the lawsuits but that what it has seen contains “extensive inaccuracies.” Mastiac, on the other hand, says that the complaint has been sent to SHC and that the information reported has been verified.

Contact Becky Aydin at raydin ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Rebecca Aydin

Rebecca Aydin, a writer for the University/Local beat and a senior hailing from NYC, is pursuing a major in English and a minor in Psychology. She has written for the Chicago Tribune and Worldcrunch, a digital news magazine based in Paris. On campus, she is the editor-in-chief of MINT style and culture magazine. This is her fourth year writing for The Stanford Daily. Contact her at raydin ‘at’ stanford.edu.