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Utah nurse charged with sexually abusing patient

Published December 10, 2013 10:26 am

Crime • Defendant threatened woman, charges state.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A Uintah Basin Medical Center nurse is accused of sexually abusing a female surgery patient.

Joshua Platte Shumway, 26, was charged Monday in 8th District Court with three counts of forcible sexual abuse, object rape, forcible sodomy, threat of violence and three counts of tampering with a witness. All but one of the charges are felonies, and if convicted of forcible sodomy, he could face up to life in prison.

On April 16, a woman was at the Roosevelt hospital for surgery and stayed the night to recover. During the night, a male nurse came into her room and allegedly sexually assaulted her on five occasions.

The male nurse gave her medication and placed her hand on her automatic morphine injector pump to activate it, according to the charges. She had stopped using the pump herself because it was making her feel sick.

The woman described to investigators how the nurse abused her, left, then returned and abused her four more times that night. During the fourth encounter, he had a syringe and told her that he could use it to put her in cardiac arrest, then later told her that he knew where she lived and to keep her mouth shut, according to the charges.

The woman tried looking for the nurse call button to summon help, but could not find it; she was also trying to say "please no" but her words sounded "squeaky and stupid," the charges add.

The woman sought therapy after that night, and by Dec. 4, one of her medical doctors told someone at the hospital. By then, Shumway had left Uintah Basin Medical Center and his Facebook profile stated that he was working at St. Marks's Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Investigators determined that Shumway had been working that night and, based on a medication log, administered a drug to the victim.

Shumway was arrested and booked into the Duchesne County jail, with a bail set at $500,000. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Dec. 19.

Shumway was hired at the Roosevelt hospital on June 4, 2012, having passed a background check. He left on Oct. 5 of this year to move back to the Wasatch Front, said Maigen Zobell, spokeswoman for Uintah Basin Medical Center. It is common for nurses from urban areas to gain some work experience at rural hospitals for a short time before moving back, Zobell said.

Shumway began working at St. Mark's on Oct. 6. When the administration learned of the allegations against him, he was immediately removed from the work schedule, Sandy Osmond, chief nursing officer at St. Mark's, said in a statement. "His employment status is currently under review," she added.

In light of the allegations, St. Mark's double-checked and confirmed that they have not received any patient complaints about Shumway. He was in an internship and orientation program that typically takes three to six months to complete, and as such, was under constant supervision and never worked on his own in the surgical services unit, Osmond's statement adds.

On Tuesday, Shumway voluntarily surrendered his nursing license, according to an order filed by the Utah Department of Professional Licensing.

Shumway agreed that findings of fact made by the department — specifically that he "touched a patient in an inappropriate sexual manner on more than one occasion while working at a Utah hospital" — constitute unprofessional conduct. Shumway, however, neither admitted nor denied the allegation, according to the order.

mmcfall@sltrib.com

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