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Retired doctor and Mercy deny 'unconsented' touching and hurtful comments

Former patient filed a lawsuit in July.

Posted: Aug. 16, 2018 3:03 PM

MASON CITY, Iowa – A retired doctor and Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa are denying a former patient’s claims of unwanted touching and negative comments.

Terra Gaffney filed a lawsuit on July 25 in Cerro Gordo County District Court against Dr. Stephen Thorn, Mercy, and unnamed Mercy employees. Gaffney accused Dr. Thorn of “unconsented and not medically indicated physical touching” during a prenatal appointment.

She also claims Dr. Thorn and several unidentified females can be heard making “disparaging remarks” about Gaffney on a voicemail message left for her after the appointment.

Attorneys for Dr. Thorn and Mercy have now filed a reply to Gaffney’s lawsuit. They “categorically” deny any inappropriate touching by Dr. Thorn and, while admitting that Dr. Thorn and at least one nurse could have been recorded after they thought they hung up the phone, they deny any negative comments were made about Gaffney.

Furthermore, the reply states “The only conceivable touching was when Plaintiff (Gaffney) jumped toward Dr. Thorn and unexpectedly and energetically hugged him in her excitement about the ultrasound showing a heartbeat, causing their bodies to touch.”

Dr. Thorn and Mercy are asking for Gaffney’s lawsuit to be dismissed. No hearing date has been set.

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