Surgeon Acquitted of Drugging, Sexually Assaulting Physician Wife
She counters with malpractice lawsuit in nasty domestic dispute headed for divorce.
Published: November 30, 2012
Pediatrician Alonna Norberg, MD, filed a malpractice lawsuit against her husband days after the Fargo, N.D., orthopedic surgeon was acquitted of using propofol to drug and sexually assault her in the couple's home.
As reported here, Jon Norberg, MD, used to repeatedly administer propofol to his wife, who he says requested the injections and knew about the drug's risks and benefits, to alleviate insomnia and pain resulting from an autoimmune disease. In September 2010, she claimed to have learned of propofol's dangers and asked him to stop administering the drug.
On the night of June 16, 2011, however, she partially recalled being pinned down and forced to perform oral sex. Her husband testified the sex was consensual. She awoke the next morning to find a bottle of propofol and needles next to the bed, court records show. A search of the Norberg home on July 5 turned up syringes, alcohol swabs and 24 bottles of propofol, according to police records.
John Goff, an attorney for Dr. Jon Norberg, previously claimed the sexual assault charges were made in the context of a very contentious divorce and custody fight and that his client would be exonerated when the facts played out in court. The couple's divorce trial is reportedly scheduled to begin early next year.
Dr. Alonna Norberg's malpractice lawsuit seeks $50,000 in economic and emotional damages, and alleges propofol isn't for home use, was used without proper monitoring and without her consent, and was mixed dangerously with other medications, according to a published report. Her attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.
It also names the Plastic Surgery Institute, where Dr. Jon Norberg worked and obtained the propofol, accusing staff members of unsupervised or unmonitored release of a controlled substance. The organization's practice manager declined to comment on the accusations, citing pending litigation, but did emphasize that the surgeon was recently cleared of all charges brought against him.
"The malpractice suit is based upon the same allegations that gave rise to the criminal charges," says Robert Hoy, Dr. Jon Norberg's attorney. "The jury that heard the evidence in the criminal case completely exonerated my client. It appeared to me they got past the media hysteria surrounding propofol and recognized it for the versatile medication it is, which includes its use as a treatment of last resort for chronic pain."
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