Indian American Surgeon Accused of Assaulting Nurse Cleared of Charges

There isn't enough evidence that the crime transpired, the court said.


An Indian American surgeon accused of assaulting a nurse at Nassau University Medical Center, New York, has been cleared of all charges, the Associated Press reported.

Venkatesh Sasthakonar was arrested in January for allegedly wrapping an elastic cord around a 51-year-old female nurse’s neck. The strangulation charges against him were dropped on Feb. 20. The incident took place on Jan. 22 after the two apparently had a disagreement over a patient’s medication. The complaint against him said the doctor was reportedly upset with the nurse, and caused “substantial pain” to her neck by tightening the cord around her, and said “I should kill you for this.”

According to the Nassau County district attorney’s office, there isn’t enough evidence that any crime transpired. “After thoroughly reviewing this case, interviewing witnesses and analyzing surveillance video, it has been determined there is not enough evidence to support that a crime occurred,”a spokesman for Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, Brendan Brosh, said in a statement Feb. 20.

Sasthakonar, 44, denied any wrongdoing, saying the nurse concocted the entire story. He had even told the WABC-TV channel that he was contemplating a civil suit. So far, it isn’t clear if criminal charges will be put up against the nurse.

Sasthakonar’s attorney Bruce Barkett told the media that the whole thing was a lie. “I would think the police department probably could have taken a step back and not acted so quickly and looked at the evidence. You know, investigate first and arrest second, maybe?,” Barket told Newsday.

“I hope nobody goes through this hell including the person who started all this,” the surgeon’s wife was quoted as saying by IndiaWest. “What happened in the past month was a nightmare.” she added.

“I want to thank everybody that has supported me. I want to thank the DA’s office for doing the right thing,” Sasthakonar said. “I’m not angry. I’m just disappointed, I’m disappointed in her.”

Last month, as per the police account, Sasthakonar had left the hospital premises after the altercation and when he returned several hours later, he was taken into police custody. He was charged with second degree strangulation – a felony – and third degree assault, a misdemeanor. He was released on $3,500 bail.

According to his profile on the Nassau University Medical Center website, Sasthakonar has worked with with the hospital since 2008. He has also authored a scientific paper on a surgical cure for Type II diabetes.

He and his wife live with their daughter in New Hyde Park, New York.

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