Annamalai Ashokan, 65, a Hollister anesthesiologist affiliated with Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital, was arrested Jan. 30 on suspicion of felony sexual assault at his private practice in Chico. The arrest followed a lengthy investigation into allegations made by a patient, according to the Chico Police Department.
According a Chico police press release, “At this point, there is no information about any other potential victims. Dr. Ashokan only has office hours in Chico every other week. His main office is in Hollister.” Police say detectives have also been in communication with investigators with the state of California’s Division of Investigation, Health Quality Investigation Unit who oversee medical licensing investigations.
Ashokan is a 1978 graduate from Bangalore Medical College, according to the Skyway Surgery Center website. He completed his residency in general surgery in 1983 at Albert Einstein School of Medicine and his residency in anesthesiology at New York Medical College in 1987. He has served as the director of the Monterey Pacific Pain Treatment Center and as director of the department of anesthesiology at Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital. He has been on the hospital’s staff for 25 years.
Ashokan does not provide anesthesiology services at the hospital, but specializes in pain management from his Hollister and Chico offices, according to hospital spokeswoman Frankie Gallagher, who said he will maintain his privileges until after legal proceedings are completed.
Ashokan was also accused of sexual assault in 2000. According to a Sept. 24, 2001 Medical Board of California Action Report (see PDF below), Ashokan was found to have committed acts of “unprofessional conduct and sexual misconduct in the care and treatment of a patient.”
Joan Rogers, director of medical staff at Hazel Hawkins, said the hospital was aware of his past record and that he had complied with the previous probation related to the 2000 incident and there was nothing anyone was aware of in the last 20 years.
Rogers said Ashokan is a private-practice physician and won’t be coming into the hospital unless he has patients. She said she doubted if he had any cases scheduled.
“We’re wanting to protect patients and we’re just waiting to see what will happen,” she said.
During his five-year probation following the accusations in 2000, Ashokan was not allowed to be alone with any female patient and he had to inform the medical board of his business and home addresses. He was also ordered to pay $15,000 in cost recovery, as well as any costs related to monitoring his probation. He agreed to all the stipulations and signed the document July 24, 2001.
Note: To check any physician’s medical record go here: http://www.mbc.ca.gov/Breeze/License_Verification.aspx