Utah doctor accused of sexual battery on unconscious patient during surgery

Posted at 9:45 PM, Jul 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-31 00:23:24-04

OGDEN, Utah — A doctor has been arrested for allegedly groping an unconscious patient during a surgery at an Ogden hospital in October of last year.

Bryson Swain Smith, 65, was arrested Thursday on two misdemeanor counts of sexual battery.

According to court documents, Smith was a neurosurgeon performing an "Anterior Cervical Decompression Fusion" surgery at the Ogden Regional Medical Center on Oct. 11, 2021, when the assault took place.

The person who reported the alleged sexual battery was assisting in the surgery. The probable cause affidavit did not state when police received the report, but it said investigators interviewed multiple members of medical staff who were in the operating room at the time.

The person who made the report said the victim, an adult woman, was under anesthesia and was unconscious. The witness said Smith squeezed the patient's breast, which was covered only by a thin surgical sheet. Smith had allegedly been making comments about his sexuality prior to doing this.

"The complainant stated that when this happened, no one in the room said anything, which he believed was due to the shock of witnessing Bryson squeezing the unconscious victim's breasts. The complainant said that Bryson eventually made a statement along the lines of, "Please don't report me" while shaking his head," the arrest report read.

Police later interviewed a second witness who was also in the room and saw Smith's alleged actions.

The second witness, who was also assisting in the surgery process, confirmed that Smith was making comments about his own sexuality before touching the unconscious patient inappropriately. This witness told police that Smith grabbed both of the woman's breasts and then said: "Uh, no one report me for that."

The second witness also told investigators that Smith touched the unconscious woman inappropriately a second time. The witness said Smith was resting his hands on the patient's chest area, which they said was common during surgeries, but then the surgeon made inappropriate remarks and appeared to be "patting" the patient's breasts with his wrists.

A third witness told police that while they were facing away from the operating table at the time, they heard Smith say: "Please don't report me to HR."

Smith was booked into the Weber County Jail and released on $1,000 bail.

MountainStar Healthcare, which owns the Ogden Regional Medical Center, told FOX 13 News that Smith was not a direct employee but an "affiliated physician." The company provided the following statement:

“The hospital takes allegations of this type very seriously. Upon learning about this allegation involving an affiliated physician, the hospital immediately investigated and closely followed hospital policies and protocols, including notifying the patient and making reports to law enforcement and appropriate agencies. The physician is no longer a member of our medical staff.”


Help for survivors of sexual assault:

  • Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault hotline
    • English: 801-736-4356
    • Spanish: 801-924-0860.