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Police: N.Y. Surgeon Choked Nurse With Drawstring From His Sweatshirt

Police say the surgeon was upset that the nurse had given his patient medication at what he considered to be the wrong time.

Published: January 25, 2018

CHARGED Venkatesh Sasthakonar, MD, is charged with strangulation and assault for injuring the nurse.

A New York surgeon was arrested and charged with strangulation and assault for choking a nurse with the drawstring from his sweatshirt, say police.

Venkatesh Sasthakonar, MD, allegedly became enraged when a nurse administered medication to one of his patients at what the 44-year-old bariatric surgeon considered to be the wrong time, according to the criminal complaint.

Dr. Sasthakonar came up behind the unnamed nurse and wrapped the elastic drawstring from his sweatshirt around her neck, "causing[her] to gasp for air and substantial pain to her neck," says the complaint.

Dr. Sasthakonar allegedly said "I should kill you for this" as he choked her, says the complaint.

The incident occurred Monday at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, N.Y. It's not clear what medication the nurse administered or at what phase of surgery the patient was in. The nurse was treated at her hospital for her injuries.

Dr. Sasthakonar left the hospital after the incident and was arrested when he returned hours later. He was charged with strangulation and assault. During an arraignment on Tuesday, the Nassau County Court issued a temporary protection order against Dr. Sasthakonar and he was released on $3,500 bail.

"At no time was patient safety affected. The doctor has been suspended until further notice," says Brian Finnegan, spokesperson for the Nassau University Medical Center.

An attorney for Dr. Sasthakonar did not return a call for comment.

Dr. Sasthakonar joined the hospital in 2008 as a bariatric surgeon who specialized in performing laparoscopic obesity surgeries, according to the hospital.

Anna Merriman

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