Anesthesiologist gets 23 years for abusing patients, coworkers

Anesthesiologist gets 23 years for abusing patients, coworkers »Play Video
Dr. Frederick Field being handcuffed after his sentencing hearing on Tuesday. (KATU photo/pool)

THE DALLES, Ore. -- An anesthesiologist in The Dalles has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for sexually abusing a dozen incapacitated patients and coworkers.

The sentence was handed down Tuesday morning, more than a year after Dr. Frederick Field, 46, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of sex abuse and one count of rape.

In all, 12 victims, including coworkers, came forward and said they were abused by Field from 2007 to 2011. The State of Oregon suspended Field’s license after his arrest in August of 2011. He agreed not to contest that suspension.

The prosecutor said that in the abuse cases involving coworkers, Field asked them if they wanted medication to heal a headache or some other ailment.  He then took them into a room and administered medication that incapacitated them before they were abused.

Almost all of the alleged incidents happened at the Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles. Prosecutors said many of the women worked with Field and feared losing their jobs if they reported the abuse.

Field did not speak in court on Tuesday, but two victims and the husband of another did make statements.

"I’m only beginning to get a glimpse of the effects this incident has had on my own behaviors and choices in my life," one victim said. "How could this happen? How could this man damage other women’s lives … and how is it possible that this was allowed to happen?"

"I panicked at the thought of getting under anesthesia again and becoming so vulnerable once again."

Another victim found solace in the doctor's guilty pleas.

"I am only secure in the knowledge that you are finally where you deserve to be: Judged and held accountable for your reprehensible actions," the victim said. "You will be as powerless as you mistakenly and arrogantly believed I once was."

Beginning in 2005, Field worked as an anesthesiologist at the Mid-Columbia Medical Center, the main hospital in The Dalles.

Field was arrested on July 28, 2011, after two victims came forward alleging he'd sexually assaulted them while they were incapacitated. One of them said she was victimized in February of 2011, another in 2007.

The allegations from all the victims go back as far as 2007 and are as recent as 2011. 

In all the cases, Field was accused of touching the womens' genitals as well as forcing victims to touch his genitals, all while they were under anesthetic.

Some of the victims said they woke up as Field touched them and that’s how they knew what had happened. Others said they thought their memories were dreams until Field was arrested and they realized the abuse had really happened.

After sentencing, Field's mother, Joan Field, claimed all but one of the incidents were consensual.

She also complained that Field could not get a fair trial in Wasco County. A change of venue request for the trial by Field's legal team was denied.

A request to give Field's posted bail money to victims was denied by the judge.

Field is married and has two young children. Once he completes his sentence, he will have to register as a sex offender.