October 01. 2013 8:40AM

Former hospital employee in Dover charged with sexual assault

Union Leader Correspondent

DOVER — Wentworth-Douglass Hospital hopes to reassure patients after an employee allegedly “inappropriately” touched a woman twice during a procedure.Brendan Higgins, 41, of 117 Liberty Lane, Barrington, was charged with two counts of misdemeanor sexual assault for touching “an adult female patient inappropriately in the course of a medical procedure” Sept. 15.Police Lt. Brendt Dolleman said the woman reported the incident to hospital officials, who immediately suspended Higgins as a computed tomography technician and notified police.“He is no longer employed at the hospital,” Dolleman said.Noreen Biehl, vice president of community relations, confirmed that Higgins has left Wentworth-Douglass.Although no other patients have expressed similar complaints, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital established a response team of nurses and patient advocates to answer questions and provide support via a toll-free hotline, which can be reached by calling (855) 215-3130.As of Monday, Biehl said no one has reported any issues. She added the hotline will remain available to help address any concerns.According to a statement issued by Gregory Walker, president and chief executive officer, “Our patients and our staff put their faith and trust in our hospital and expect us to deliver care in the most respectful way. Any break in this trust is inexcusable.“I extend my regrets and sincere apologies to the patient involved in this incident and appreciate her strength and cooperation as she follows through the investigative process,” Walker said in the release.“We have voluntarily reported the incident to our accrediting body, the Joint Commission, notified the N.H. Department of Health & Human Services and initiated an extensive review of our policies, procedures and monitoring systems to prevent this from happening again,” according to the release.After learning a warrant had been issued for his arrest, Higgins turned himself in to police Friday morning, Dolleman said.Higgins was released on $10,000 personal recognizance with the conditions he have no contact with the woman or be allowed at Wentworth-Douglass “unless he requires emergency medical treatment,” police said.jquinn@newstote.com