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Hollister doctor arrested in Chico on sexual assault charges

Annamalai Ashokan faced similar accusations in 2000.

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

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About:
John Chadwell (John Chadwell)

John Chadwell is an investigative reporter for BenitoLink. He has many years experience as a freelance photojournalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer who has worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and underwent graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John has worked as a script doctor and his own script, God's Club, was released as a motion picture in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime that are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: johnchadwell@benitolink.com.

Comments

The following quote by a representative of Hazel Hawkins Hospital is, perhaps, the most appalling and irresponsible reactive narrative attributed to a public health official on record. Rather than take appropriate responsibility for employing a known sex offender and subjecting its patients - especially vulnerable women - to sexual abuse, Hazel Hawkins' public statement regarding its role in employing a known sexual predator suspected of abuse is an abhorrent dereliction of duty and deflection from fact.

 "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."

Submitted by Martin Bress (bressmd) on

San Benito Medical Associates is the Independent Practice Association which represents Hollister physicians. On July 24,2001 Dr Ashokan had his license to practice medicine revoked by the Medical Board of California. The Medical Board did re-instate his medical license after a 60 day suspension and placed him on probation for 5 years. The allegations against Dr Ashokan as well as his stipulation to the events causing the revocation of his license are part of the public record. Upon learning of the decision of the Medical Board in July 2001, San Benito Medical Associates did not approve his re-appointment as a participating member in our organization. Physicians are trusted to provide patients with the highest standard of medical care and to conduct themselves in a professional manner. Dr Ashokan is not a member of San Benito Medical Associates.  

                                                                                         Martin M Bress MD, President - SBMA

                                                                   

                                                                                              

Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital (HHMH) does not employ Dr. Annamalai Ashokan, nor does he have a contract to provide any services at the hospital. He does not provide Anesthesia Services to surgical patients at Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital. Dr. Ashokan maintains his own private practice and holds current Medical Staff privileges at HHMH to provide pain management services at the hospital to patients from his private practice.

The Medical Staff of Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital has a very thorough credentialing process for the safety of its patients, and makes recommendations to the Hospital Board regarding appointment to staff. Dr. Ashokan currently holds a license with no restrictions by the California Medical Board.

These allegations specifically address incidents that did not occur at Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital. Protecting patient safety is the top priority of the Hospital Board and the Medical Staff, and all appropriate measures are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of our patients.

At the end of the day, Hazel Hawkins carefully worded statement belies the fact that a member of its thoroughly credentialed Medical Staff is, in fact, a sex offender of which its administrators are well aware and who is permitted to treat patients at its facility.

Most community members are probably not aware that a sex offender is licensed and permitted to do business at Hazel Hawkins. Given the severity of Dr. Ashokan's criminal past, Hazel Hawkins should voluntarily disclose to the public exactly how many other sexual predators enjoy current Medical Staff privileges at the main hospital or auxiliary facilities affiliated with Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital.

 

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