UNMC physician under investigation after lawsuit alleges he touched patient under anesthesia

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- A lawsuit against a former doctor with Nebraska Medicine alleges he touched a patient inappropriately while under anesthesia.

The physician is no longer associated with the medical center, but a lawsuit claims he stayed for months after warning signs appeared.

Dr. Mark Dietrich specializes in knee surgery, but a lawsuit alleges during an operation two years ago at Nebraska Medical Center, he reached up to touch a patient’s private area. The lawsuit claims the patient was under anesthesia and didn’t know the incident had happened until almost a year later.

The suit claims the patient received a call from Nebraska Medical Center representatives about a claim made by someone present in the operating room who witnessed Dietrich allegedly touching the patient inappropriately.

The lawsuit alleges someone had reported that Dietrich had touched the patient's genitals with his ungloved hand while the person was under anesthesia. That witness didn’t intervene or make note of it on the patient's medical chart, the lawsuit states, and the patient — unaware of what allegedly happened — had two follow-up visits with Dietrich.

“Nebraskans and people who come to Nebraska for medical care need to be able to trust that hospitals are informing them about concerns with the physicians that will be operating on them,” said Maren Lynn Chaloupka, the patient’s attorney.

A record search under Dietrich’s name found an earlier lawsuit alleging him of fondling a different patient under anesthesia. That suit was filed six months earlier with the attorney claiming it was a red flag and that the medical center allowed Dietrich to operate on her client anyway.

According to the Nebraska Medical Center: “Because of pending litigation, we cannot talk further about the circumstances. Nebraska Medicine holds physicians and staff to the highest professional standards and the safety of our patients is our top priority."

Omaha Police responded to this report Tuesday, saying "detectives have an ongoing investigation with this person."