A woman has filed a lawsuit alleging that a former Nebraska Medicine orthopedic surgeon touched her inappropriately while she was under anesthesia.

In the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, the Florida woman alleges that she was not aware of the incident until two Nebraska Medical center officials called her in October 2018, nearly 11 months after Dr. Mark Dietrich performed her surgical procedure. The representatives informed her that someone in the operating room had reported that Dietrich allegedly had touched her vagina with his ungloved hand, the suit says.

Both Dietrich and the health system previously were named in a separate suit containing similar allegations involving inappropriate contact under anesthesia. An Omaha woman and her husband filed that suit in Douglas County District Court on May 30, 2017. In it, the Omaha woman alleges that she was informed of the assault after it occurred by law enforcement personnel investigating Dietrich.

In a July 2017 response to the Omaha couple’s lawsuit, Dietrich adamantly denied that “any improper touching” of the woman took place. He also asked the judge to dismiss the suit. The litigation still is pending.

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Bob Mooney, an Omaha attorney representing Dietrich in both civil cases, said he had no further comment on either lawsuit. He has not yet filed a response to the Florida woman’s suit.

Nebraska Medicine officials said in a statement Tuesday that they are aware of allegations involving one of their former physicians. “Because of pending litigation,” they said in the statement, “we cannot talk further about the circumstances.”

The Florida woman alleges in her lawsuit that Nebraska Medicine knew before her December 2017 procedure that Dietrich “represented a threat” to anesthetized patients and continued to allow him access to such patients for months. According to the suit, the medical center allegedly terminated Dietrich’s employment and privileges Oct. 19, 2018.

The witness didn’t intervene or make note of the incident in the woman’s medical chart, according to the lawsuit.

The Florida woman also referenced the other lawsuit against Dietrich in her suit and said Omaha police began investigating Dietrich regarding sexual contact with patients under anesthesia “in what is believed to be early 2017.”

An Omaha police spokesman confirmed Tuesday that the department currently has an open investigation involving Dietrich. No further information was available.

Julie Anderson is a medical reporter for The World-Herald. She covers health care and health care trends and developments, including hospitals, research and treatments. Follow her on Twitter @JulieAnderson41. Phone: 402-444-1066.

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