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Updated: Tue, 04 Mar 2014 12:00:47 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Dr. George Doodnaught victim recalls anesthesiologist's attack



Debra Dreise was sexually assaulted by anesthesiologist Dr. George Doodnaught while undergoing a hysterectomy in February 2010. CBC

Debra Dreise was sexually assaulted by anesthesiologist Dr. George Doodnaught while undergoing a hysterectomy in February 2010. CBC

Debra Dreise can recall the moment during her hysterectomy when she realized her anesthesiologist — the now convicted Dr. George Doodnaught — was assaulting her.

It happened as Dreise lay on the operating table. The 43-year-old mother of twins told CBC she was aware of what was happening to her but was unable to move due to the anesthetic. During the surgery she drifted in and out of consciousness.

"He had his tongue in my mouth," said Dreise. "I tried to pull back and he lifted his head slightly and I asked him 'What about the other people?' and he said 'Don't worry, I know how to be discreet.'"

From there, the assault escalated until Dreise realized Doodnaught had turned her neck to the side and had his penis in her mouth.

"I was gagging and I could smell him," she said. "I was in such a state of shock, I couldn't believe that this was going on. I didn't know what to do at the time, because I couldn't move, I couldn't respond in any way. Because of the epidural, I couldn't move my body."

"I was in there for a hysterectomy, and I was being assaulted," she said. "I was having a piece of me removed, and this was happening to me."

Convicted in November of 21 sex assaults on patients during surgery, Doodnaught was sentenced last week to 10 years in prison.

Dreise complained to the chief of anesthesiology at North York General after her surgery 2010. Eventually she took her complaints to police, triggering an investigation that would result in Doodnaught's conviction.

Dreise also told CBC News that Doodnaught came to her bedside when she was in the recovery room shortly after her  surgery.

Visited her room

Dreise claims Doodnaught told her that during the surgery, she had reached for his penis.

"I shook my head," said Dreise. "I knew that wasn't true."

She said Doodnaught also visited her in her hospital room the next day. He asked how she was, and if she remembered anything from the surgery.

"I thought 'Oh my God, he's found me, he knows that I know something, and he's going to do something to me.'"

Dreise said the assault has left her with psychological problems — including nightmares, anxiety attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder — that have prevented her from returning to work.

"I'm not the same person," she said. "I will not leave this house without being accompanied by my husband."  

Ask tough questions

"My children ask "'Mommy, why are you sad?' And I can't tell them why I'm sad. It's a loss of me."

Dreise said she would advise other women to ask tough questions before undergoing any surgery.

"Know who your surgical staff is," she advises. "Know what's going on. Ask if … there is some sort of viewing window or a camera in place just so everyone is protected, and these acts are never committed again."

Doodnaught has applied for bail pending an appeal of his conviction. The judge could decide on that application as early as this week.

Dreise hopes Doodnaught's request for bail is denied.

"I don't think he has the right to even ask for bail, and I am angered that he even has the audacity to seek an appeal," she said. "He got a sentence, he should be serving that sentence."

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