A second woman is now suing two Utah medical facilities for not reporting a nurse accused of multiple patient sexual assaults to state licensing authorities.
The woman, C.C., says she was sexually assaulted by nurse Adam Tae Kyun Lim while she was hospitalized at Intermountain Medical Center (IMC) in 2014.
Prior to her report, at least eight other female patients had complained to medical workers at Lim’s previous jobs that he had sexually assaulted them.
But several of Lim’s prior employers who fired him after receiving complaints never reported the nurse to Utah’s Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL), as required by law.
C.C. is now suing two of Lim’s past employers — St. Mark’s Hospital and Holladay Healthcare Center — saying they failed to protect her by not reporting past sexual abuse complaints to authorities. She also alleges the two facilities failed to tell IMC officials why Lim was fired when IMC called for employment references.
Instead, the facilities told his potential employer that Lim was “a great nurse,” according to the lawsuit filed in 3rd District Court.
C.C. had been hospitalized in 2014 after having her leg amputated. She reported to hospital workers there that Lim had touched her genitals inappropriately.
She is the second woman to file suit against the two facilities. Another patient, A.L. — who reported being assaulted by Lim at IMC in 2015 — sued in December.
In total, state officials have identified at least a dozen women who have reported Lim violated them in the past decade as he worked in health care facilities across Salt Lake County.
Public records show at least four facilities — St. Mark’s, Jordan Valley Medical Center’s West Valley campus, IMC in Murray, and a rehabilitation center not identified in public documents — received at least one complaint of inappropriate touching in the past decade. St. Mark’s and IMC each had at least four.
Lim, 54, also has been charged criminally in connection to four alleged victims, including C.C. and A.L.
Eric Olson, an attorney who represents C.C., said Friday that his client wanted to file a lawsuit to make sure nothing like this happens to any other patient.
The attorney said it was “kind of unbelievable” that Lim continued to get hired through the years despite the patients’ reports.
“These healthcare facilities need to be extra careful when they are hiring nurses,” Olson said Friday. “Nurses deal with people when they are at their most vulnerable. … [C.C.] would like these hospitals to know that patients tell the truth, and you need to take patient reports very seriously.”
The Salt Lake Tribune generally does not identify victims of sexual abuse, although C.C. and A.L. have agreed to be identified by their initials. Both women are seeking an unspecified amount of monetary damages in their lawsuits.
A.L. also sued IMC, saying the facility should have done a more thorough background check before hiring Lim and a better internal investigation after patients complained. She settled that portion of the lawsuit for an unspecified amount in December, according to court records.
Utah law requires medical facilities to report to DOPL when an employee is terminated for “unprofessional, unlawful, incompetent or negligent conduct.”
Facilities must also report if they find an employee violated professional standards, was incompetent, engaged in abuse of alcohol or drugs or conducted “acts of moral turpitude.”
Lim had been warned multiple times about inappropriate conduct while employed at St. Mark’s, according to A.L.’s lawsuit, before he was fired in 2011 after a fourth woman reported abuse to hospital authorities.
The lawsuit further alleges that Holladay Healthcare, which employed Lim from 2009 to May 2016, was also aware that patients had complained of Lim’s conduct and had warned him about inappropriate touching. Details of those allegations are not known.
Neither facility ever reported Lim to DOPL, according to state officials.
Officials with St. Mark’s and Holladay Healthcare did not respond to requests for comment about C.C.’s lawsuit on Friday.
St. Mark’s vice president of human resources, Kelly Brimhall, said in December that the hospital was “deeply troubled” by the accusations against Lim.
“We are confident that our response [to patient reports about Lim] was comprehensive and appropriate based on the evidence and information that was available at the time,” Brimhall wrote.
Attorneys for St. Mark’s and Holladay Healthcare have both filed motions seeking to have A.L.’s civil case dismissed, saying her attorneys did not follow the proper filing procedures under the Medical Malpractice Act. They further argued they “owe no duty” to A.L., because she was never treated at their facilities.
IMC hospital officials did report Lim to DOPL after he was fired in 2016. His nursing license was suspended in September 2016, after DOPL officials ruled he was “an imminent and significant danger to the public.”
It was the first time any action had been taken against Lim’s license.
Lim’s criminal case is currently pending, with a seven-day trial scheduled to begin in June.
The Utah attorney general’s office filed criminal charges against Lim in August 2016, slapping him with two counts of first-degree felony object rape and two counts of second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse. He was arrested at that time, but has been free from the Salt Lake County jail after posting $100,000 bond.
Lim has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His attorney, Clayton Simms, has said his client is “completely innocent” and the allegations of inappropriate touching are a misunderstanding because English is his client’s second language, and “it’s different” when a male nurse is treating and touching patients. He also noted that all of the patients were on medication that could cause memory loss or delusions when they say they were abused.