From the Plaintiff’s Complaint in Jane Doe vs. El Paso County Hospital District, No. 3-13-CV-406-DB, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, El Paso Division:
9. Defendant Michael Parsa is a medical doctor employed by the University Medical Center of El Paso. At all times relevant to this Complaint, he was acting in the course and within the scope of his employment. He is sued in his individual capacity.
10. Defendant Christopher Cabanillas is a medical doctor employed by the University Medical Center of El Paso. At all times relevant to this Complaint, he was acting in the course and within the scope of his employment. He is sued in his individual capacity.
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35. Without obtaining consent or obtaining a detailed medical history, Defendants Doctor Christopher Cabanillas and Doctor Michael Parsa (collectively called “Doctors”) continued the search for drugs along with agents Portillo and Herrera.
36. Medical Center staff wheeled a portable toilet into the room and directed Ms. Doe to ingest a laxative. CBP agents Portillo and Herrera removed the tape from Ms. Doe’s pants and remained in the room with her while the laxative took effect. The agents observed Ms. Doe have a bowel movement. No evidence of internal drug smuggling was found as a result of this search.
37. Defendant Cabanillas, in consultation with Defendant Parsa, ordered an X-ray of Ms. Doe’s abdomen. Medical Center staff X-rayed Ms. Doe, subjecting her to unnecessary radiation. According to medical records, the exam produced “[n]o evidence of radiopaque foreign bodies.”
Ms. Doe’s Anus and Vagina Were Probed Without a Warrant, Consent or Any Suspicion of Internal Drug Smuggling
38. Even though prior searches resulted in no evidence of internal drug smuggling, CBP agents and the Doctors continued the intrusion on Ms. Doe’s body without her consent and without a warrant.
39. After the X-ray, Ms. Doe was again handcuffed to the examination table. CBP agents Portillo and Herrera and Medical Center personnel were present in the room. Defendants left the door to the examining room open, and Ms. Doe could see hospital personnel at the nurses’ station in the hallway. She was angry that CBP had not released her and scared about what would happen next.
40. Defendant Parsa entered the examination room and barked an order that Ms. Doe spread her legs. She complied.
41. Ms. Doe was mortified. Defendants did not even have the decency to close the door to the examining room so that Ms. Doe would not also be subjected to being observed by passersby as she endured a forced gynecological exam.
42. Defendant Parsa then conducted a series of examinations. While agents Portillo and Herrera and other Medical Center staff watched, he inserted a speculum into Ms. Doe’s vagina and observed the interior cavity. According to medical records, Defendant Parsa did not see any foreign objects or evidence of internal drug smuggling.
43. Defendant Parsa also stuck his fingers into Ms. Doe’s vagina while palpitating her abdomen. This bimanual cavity search was negative: According to medical records, Defendant Parsa did not feel any foreign objects or evidence of internal drug smuggling.
44. Defendant Parsa also conducted a rectal examination: he inserted his fingers into Ms. Doe’s rectum and probed the orifice for foreign bodies. According to medical records, Defendant Parsa did not feel any or find evidence of internal drug smuggling.
45. While her rectum was being probed, agents Portillo and Herrera and Medical Center staff watched. Ms. Doe felt that she was being treated less than human, like an animal.
46. Ms. Doe was shocked and humiliated by these exceedingly intrusive searches. That an audience of CBP agents and Medical Center staff observed her being probed compounded her feeling of degradation.
The Government Continued Searching Ms. Doe Even After Visual and Physical Inspections of Her Vaginal and Rectal Cavities Produced No Evidence of Internal Drug Smuggling
47. Still not satisfied, CBP and the Medical Center employees subjected Ms. Doe to yet another procedure.
48. Defendant Cabanillas, in consultation with Defendant Parsa, ordered a CT exam of Ms. Doe’s abdomen and pelvis. During the CT scan, Medical Center staff barraged Ms. Doe’s body to create a three dimensional image with more detail than a typical X-ray. In so doing, they forcibly exposed her to “between 150 and 1,100 times the radiation of a conventional x-ray, or around a year’s worth of exposure to radiation from both natural and artificial sources in the environment.” According to medical records, the exam resulted in “[n]o . . . evidence of ingested radiopaque objects.”
49. After the CT scan, a CBP agent presented Ms. Doe with a choice: she could either sign a medical consent form, despite the fact that she had not consented, in which case CBP would pay for the cost of the searches; or if she refused to sign the consent form, she would be billed for the cost of the searches. She refused. The Medical Center consent form reflects that Ms. Doe withheld consent: “Refusal to Sign” is written in the patient signature line, a refusal witnessed by Jessica R.
I filed a complaint against Dr. Emmette Flynn for doing the same thing; the Texas Medical Board ultimately found that “Dr. Flynn acted appropriately in the care and treatment of RG, in compliance with a court order.”—the Nuremberg defense, “just following orders.”
In Flynn’s case, there was a warrant, which is irrelevant to medical ethics—an unnecessary medical procedure should never be performed on a patient without consent—but mattered to the Texas Medical Board. It’s useful information, that the Texas Medical Board goes so far afield from the fundamental principle of autonomy (not to mention the first precept of the Hippocratic Oath) to justify doctors helping the government.
Michael Parsa and Christopher Cabanillas don’t have a warrant to excuse their medical abuse of Jane Doe; let’s find out how the Texas Medical Board will rationalize this one.