McKINNEY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Rubbing her hands together and holding a tissue, a North Texas woman talked about the summer of 2016 when she said a knee injury sent her to Dr. Donald Ozumba.
“He put me in a backroom to do a sonogram and give me a shot,” she explained with her husband sitting nearby.
“Usually they keep the papers shorts on you… just cut a hole in the side, but he did the sonogram which I had never had.” The woman said she had received the same shot by other doctors, but never with a sonogram. She says that procedure led to assault.
“You’re thinking this is not happening. Maybe this is the probe that is touching me. This is my doctor. This can’t be happening.”
Over the next several minutes, she said the 45-year-old orthopedic specialist repeatedly touched her inappropriately. When he left the room to get more sonogram gel, she said she got dressed and rushed out.
“Did you ever say anything to him about this being inappropriate,” the I-Team asked.
“What stopped you form doing that? What were you afraid of?”
The former patient paused for several seconds, “I don’t know. ….I got in my car and thought this didn’t happen. If I tell on him, I’m ruing a man’s life. How can I go tell on someone who has that much education, and children and a wife?” Her voice trembled.
For two days, she says she was also afraid to tell her husband. “I made him promise me he wouldn’t do anything if I told him what was happening.”
They say they called the police that night. Later they reported it to the Texas Medical Board, but she says what happened next but her feel as if no one- except her family-believed her. She says the McKinney Police Department closed the case and the Texas Medical Board closed the case.
“I was so scared he’d do this to anyone who went in there.”
Months later, in March of 2017, something happened. Detectives from the McKinney police department showed back up at her door. Encouraged, she explained, “Another lady came forward.”
Investigators told the former patient she was not alone.
Sitting in a dark room so her face would also be disguised, another former patient told the I-Team, “He told me he had his own way of doing things so I trusted he knew what he was doing.” This is a second woman who says she too had been to Doctor Ozumba for a hip injury.
“As he was doing the procedure, he touched me inappropriately and I thought for a moment ‘is that real? Did that really just happen?’ And I thought he doesn’t know what he is doing. It’s an accident and then it happened again. And I’m just laying there. And I’m frozen and I’m stuck and I’m in shock and I’m thinking what is happening right now?”
These women and others testified in a criminal trial against Doctor Ozumba this summer where he was sentenced to ten years for sexual assault of a 73-year-old patient. Now, following more grand jury indictments, the Collin County District Attorney’s Office tells the I-Team six more cases are pending in Collin County and four more in Rockwall County.
Several women are also filing a civil suit.
“None of these women knew each other before the criminal case and that brought them together, “ said Attorney Tahira Meritt.
She and Attorney Robert Greening represent the women. They say the former patients want to make sure this didn’t happen to anyone else.
One of the women told CBS 11, “I could have kept so many from being assaulted if they would have believed me,” and then paused, “…because most of those were after me.”
“I think there needs to be some education in the police departments the board of how to talk to these people and understand what is going on,” said Greening. “We believe we are also going to be able to prove in this case that he not only sexually abused these patients but that he also used that position he had to abuse them and perform unnecessary procedures.”
Merritt responded explaining what the women claim actually took place in that exam room. “He would use the sonogram, the doppler, in order to locate where he was going to put the needle…and his hands…and fingers would contact their genitals.”
In emotion that wavered from tears to anger, a former patient said, “He’s given all of us victims a life sentence. We have to live with what he did, and he gets 10 years out of a possible life.”
In addition to the criminal cases and the civil suit, the Texas State Medical Board is also still investigating. State documents show 13 other patients filed similar complaints against Doctor Ozumba claiming sexual assault or inappropriate conduct. According to the records, two of the patients say it led to an inappropriate sexual relationship.
Dr. Ozumba denied the I-Team’s request for an interview in prison.He is appealing the first criminal case. The second is scheduled for trial next year.
The State Medical Board told CBS 11 in October it created task force “…to better educate themselves and the public about these issues, victim responses and overall dynamics.”
Here is the board’s full statement:
“The case involving Dr. Ozumba is still pending at the State Office of Administrative Hearings. The most recent action is the Board was granted a motion to abate by the Administrative Law Judge in order to amend its original Formal Complaint to now include his conviction as it moves towards seeking a Motion for Summary Disposition based on the conviction.
Dr. Ozumba’s license has been suspended since July of last year. The Board took this emergency action within a week of his arrest.
Beyond what is contained in the SOAH Formal Complaints and disciplinary orders posted to the physician profiles, we’re unable to provide complaint and/or investigative information because it is statutorily confidential.
Because this case is ongoing litigation and due to the aforementioned confidentiality, we’re not able to directly address any specific complaint information. In general, complaints can be dismissed for several reasons including jurisdiction issues, lack of evidence, or duplicative complaints (the Board is previously aware of an issue).
The Texas Medical Board takes issues of physician misconduct very seriously, and the Board has organized a taskforce to further research physician boundaries issues broadly.
The Board accomplishes its mission of public protection through its disciplinary process much of which is prescribed by state statute and rule. For physicians who are a continuing threat to the public, this can include imposing severe practice restrictions and suspending or revoking licenses.
Each case will have its own set of individual facts and circumstances, and as such, each must be evaluated on a case-by-case-basis. Not all boundary violations are revocable offenses. A physician making inappropriate remarks is certainly different from a physician physically assaulting a patient or engaging in predatory behavior.
In every case, the Board will rely on information provided by both the complainant and the licensee to help determine whether a violation has occurred. Additionally, patient medical records and all relevant arrest and court records can be subpoenaed and the Board can request a licensee to appear at an informal disciplinary hearing to ask questions regarding the patient encounter. The complainant can also make a statement at this hearing. These proceedings are considered confidential under state law.
The Board has the ability to temporarily suspend or restrict a physician’s practice upon initial arrest for sexual assault, however in the event criminal charges are dropped or there is an acquittal, the Board would have obvious difficulty litigating its related case. Many times witnesses are unwilling to testify or there is very little evidence which can make it difficult to determine whether or not a violation occurred.
Regardless of these potential challenges, the Board is focused on stopping licensees who are a danger to the public and will continue to do so through its enforcement process prescribed by state statute and rule. Please note in cases where a physician is not revoked there is typically a restriction prohibiting the physician from treating the affected patient population.”