Florida

Patients say Florida doctor sexually assaulted them during colonoscopies

Asif Choudhury
Asif Choudhury

A Florida doctor has been accused of sexually fondling three women while they were sedated for colonoscopies and an endoscopy.

In Lee County criminal court, 54-year-old Asif Choudhury faces three counts of sexual battery when the victim is incapacitated.

Choudhury’s civil court plate contains lawsuits from two of his accusers. And Florida’s Department of Health has issued two Emergency Restriction Orders that forbid the Fort Myers doctor “from conducting any rectal procedures on female patients.”

Choudhury, who has pleaded not guilty, was released on $150,000 bond.

The alleged violations occurred during colonoscopies at Riverwalk Endoscopy and Surgery Center, which is also named as a defendant in the lawsuits, and an endoscopy at Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers. The Fort Myers News-Press reports that Choudhury owns 33 percent of Riverwalk, although the restrictions say he is an employee.

According to the Emergency Restriction Orders, during a May 3, 2017, endoscopy on a woman referred to as “G.D.,” the surgical technician noticed something unusual about Choudhury’s finger placement.

“Tech. P.E. observed that as Dr. Choudhury inserted the scope into Patient G.D.'s rectum, Dr. Choudhury's right index and middle finger were extended,” the ERO read. “Tech. P.E. then observed that as Dr. Choudhury inserted the scope farther into Patient G.D.'s rectum, Dr. Choudhury simultaneously inserted his extended right index and middle finger into Patient G.D.'s vagina.”

The technician claimed Choudhury used the scope pullout to slip two fingers into G.D.’s vagina.

Just over a month later, on June 15, a different assisting technician, M.C., said she noticed something similar during a colonoscopy on patient V.Q.

“During the procedure, Tech M.C. noticed a quick, random movement to her left,” the ERO said. “When Tech M.C. looked at the patient, Tech M.C. observed Dr. Choudhury insert at least one finger into Patient V.Q.'s vagina and then perform three "quick pumps" in and out of Patient V.Q.'s vagina before returning his hand to the scope.”

Upon hearing about this from M.C., supervising Nurse A.S. joined M.C. with Choudhury for the next procedure. They say they noticed nothing untoward during that procedure. Nurse A.S. decided to work as a circulating nurse, allowing her to move around more for the third patient.

“Towards the end of the procedure, Nurse A.S. turned her back at one point, and Tech M.C. then observed Dr. Choudhury insert several of his fingers into Patient D.N.'s vagina,” the ERO said. “Tech M.C. and Nurse A.S. reported Tech M.C.'s observations to their supervisors, who ultimately informed law enforcement.”

An Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology expert, opining for the purpose of the ERO, said if the alleged finger placements are true, it was sexual misconduct.

“There is no medical need for a physician to insert his fingers into a patient's vagina during any of the procedures that (Choudhury) performed,” the expert wrote.

Choudhury was disciplined in 2004 for doing an endoscopy gastro-diagnostic procedure on the wrong patient. The patient did need the procedure, but didn’t authorize it.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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