Utah doctor charged with sexually assaulting unconscious patient during surgery
A Farmington neurosurgeon was arrested Thursday night by the Weber County Sheriff’s Office after police say witnesses reported he touched the breasts of an unconscious woman during an operation at the regional medical center from Ogden to MountainStar Heath. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
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OGDEN – A Farmington neurosurgeon was arrested Thursday night after police say witnesses reported he touched the breasts of an unconscious woman during an operation at MountainStar Heath’s Ogden Regional Medical Center.
Bryson Swain Smith, 65, was arrested for investigation on two counts of sexual assault, a Class A misdemeanor,
According to a police booking affidavit, Smith was involved in surgery for a woman on October 11. A witness told police that Smith placed his hands on the woman’s chest, on a thin surgical drape, and “squeezed” her chest for less than two seconds, police said. At this time, the patient was lying on her back on the operating table.
The witness told police before catching the woman that Smith said something similar to “it’s like we’re sisters. It’s like the girls are hanging out,” the affidavit reads.
The witness told police that everyone in the operating room was silent, possibly due to shock over the incident, and then Smith asked them not to report it, according to the affidavit.
A second witness told police that Smith had talked about inappropriate topics prior to the incident and said he was bisexual.
“The witness told (to the police) that during the conversation…he made a statement somewhere along the lines of ‘I swing back and forth, that’s why I can do it’, at this point of the statement, the witness said that Bryson grabbed both of the victim’s breasts, “and that”, at which point the witness told (to the police) that Bryson began to make a circular motion on the area of his genitals,” police said under oath.
The witness told police at another point in the operation that it was common for doctors to place their wrists on a patient’s chest or breast to remove an incision. Smith was “tapping” his wrists on the woman’s breasts, which is not normal for the procedure, and commented on the “nice pads” he could rest his wrist on, according to the affidavit.
A MountainStar spokesperson said in a statement that Smith is no longer on its medical staff.
“The hospital takes allegations of this type very seriously. Upon learning of this allegation involving an affiliated physician, the hospital immediately investigated and closely followed hospital policies and protocols, including informing the patient and reporting to law enforcement and appropriate agencies,” the statement read. said.
Smith is currently not listed online as a doctor at the Ogden Clinic, although Google Maps and a previous malpractice lawsuit that was dismissed suggest he worked there. The office is closed on Saturdays and KSL was unable to contact them. KSL also contacted attorneys who previously represented Smith, but received no response.