The attorney representing female patients in a civil lawsuit said his clients might represent “just the tip of the iceberg” in a medical malpractice complaint against a Hudson doctor.
Lawrence Scanlon of Akron said 10 more women are “waiting in the wings” to add their names to the lawsuit that includes Dr. James Bressi and his clinic as defendants.
The state of Ohio last week suspended Bressi’s medical license amid allegations he sexually assaulted patients at a pain management clinic.
Members of the State Medical Board of Ohio said they found “clear and convincing evidence that his continued practice presents a danger of immediate and serious harm to the public.”
Stow police have been investigating allegations of sexual misconduct involving Bressi, 59, and several patients, including elderly women, who visited him at the Summit Pain Specialists office.
The pain clinic’s website acknowledges Bressi’s departure from the practice March 15.
Attorneys representing the clinic and Bressi could not be reached for comment Monday.
Eight former patients filed a medical malpractice lawsuit in May in Summit County against Bressi and the clinic. The civil suit claims sexual abuse by Bressi dates back to at least 2011.
The former patients say Bressi “deviated from the standard of care” by “non-consensual touching,” according to the suit.
Scanlon said the women range from child-bearing age to the elderly. He said the medical board’s decision “is the right one.”
“This is traumatic for the patients, the whole thing, what happened, the publicity. It’s difficult for them,” Scanlon said Monday.
Stow police and Summit County prosecutors have been investigating Bressi since earlier in the year for possible criminal charges. No indictment has been announced, however, and neither department has commented.
As the civil lawsuit was pending, Bressi’s attorneys said in court papers the doctor “vehemently denies” the allegations brought against him.
His attorneys filed papers saying the women “have presented no evidence to suggest that they are likely to obtain a judgment against Dr. Bressi. Notably, absent … is any fact supporting [the women’s] claims of ‘non-consensual touching’ ”
The state medical board said in its report that the decision to suspend Bressi’s license indefinitely was based on testimony by five women who alleged Bressi “perpetrated non-consensual ‘sexual activity’... during medical office appointments.”
State medical records show Bressi, an osteopath specialist, denied the sexual allegations while being interviewed by the board.
The doctor said, however, that in 2012 the clinic changed its policy and required a female to be present while he treated some female patients. The chaperon policy change was based on complaints by patients and staff that Bressi “engaged in inappropriate conduct” while treating his patients.
The board said Bressi was fired from the clinic amid allegations that he forced a female patient to fondle him. In another allegation, Bressi is said to have sexually assaulted a female invalid during a visit to her home earlier this year. More allegations of sexual misconduct are contained in the medical board’s investigative file released to the Beacon Journal as a public record.
The women allege in their lawsuit that Bressi’s medical partner, Dr. Robert Geiger, knew of the alleged misconduct but took no action.
Each plaintiff is seeking in excess of $25,000 in damages from Bressi, Geiger and the clinic.