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LHSC employee charged with drugging, sexually assaulting female patient

A London Health Sciences employee has been charged with injecting a patient with a sedative and sexually assaulting her.

Vincent Gauthier worked with adults and children during his time as a LHSC medical technician

LHSC CEO Paul Woods speaks to the media after a former worker was charged with drugging and sexually assaulting a female patient. 3:42

London hospital officials say they will be sending letters to 838 adults and children who had unsupervised contact with a former London Health Sciences Centre medical technician who was fired for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting a female patient. 

London police announced early Tuesday Vincent Gauthier, 24, has been charged with injecting a woman with a sedative during an electroencephalography or EEG procedure at University Hospital on April 11, 2018. 

At a joint news conference with police and hospital officials a few hours later, LHSC CEO Paul Woods told reporters Gauthier had been a medical technician at the hospital since 2015. 

"In his role he would have worked at both University and Victoria Hospitals and he would have seen both adult and pediatric patients," Woods said. "Clearly we are very troubled and concerned that this may have happened at our hospital."

'Zero tolerance'

London Health Sciences Centre CEO Paul Woods (right) flanked by London Police Cst. Michelle Romano at a news conference at Victoria Hospital Tuesday.

Woods noted that Gauthier was removed from any direct contact with patients as soon as hospital administrators received a complaint and he was sacked as soon as police laid charges. 

"We want to assure members of the public that we will be reaching out proactively to all patients who would have been seen by this technician in an unsupervised capacity to ensure that there are no concerns with the care they received during their procedure," Woods said.  "There is zero tolerance for this type of behaviour."

Woods said hospital officials have also set up a hotline for anyone who has questions or is concerned about any past or upcoming EEG procedures, which can be reached at 1-888-443-9202.

However, hospital officials stopped short of releasing a picture of Vincent Gauthier, saying it was the decision of police investigators. 

Police won't release photo of accused

London Health Sciences Centre CEO Paul Woods at a news conference Tuesday, where he announced hospital staff would be contacting 838 adults and children who had unsupervised contact with a former hospital employee who allegedly drugged and sexually assaulted a female patient during an EEG in April. (Colin Butler/CBC news)

"As an investigative detail, the photo of the accused will not be released. At this time, we are satisfied that we have him, his identity has been confirmed," said London Police spokeswoman Cst. Michelle Romano Tuesday. 

"The circumstances in relation to this case are very unique, that if someone feels that they may have been sedated during an EEG, that is not normal procedure and that's why anyone who maybe fearing that, please contact London Police and we can explore that further," she said. 

The hospital said it's cooperated fully with police and is shocked by the allegations. 

"This news has only been disclosed [to staff] within the last couple of hours," hospital CEO Paul Woods said. "We're certainly shocked, devastated, I don't want to speak for all 14,000 healthcare employees." 

"I'm personally devastated," he said. "It's something that's upset me greatly." 

"This type of accusation represents a most serious breach of trust between health care provider and patient, and does not embody the actions of thousands of staff and physicians at LHSC," Woods said. 

Gauthier has been released from custody and is scheduled to appear in London court on July 3, 2018.

About the Author

Colin Butler

Video Journalist

Colin Butler is a veteran CBC reporter who's worked in Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton and London, Ont. Email: colin.butler@cbc.ca

with files from Amanda Margison