Sex dreams common during sedation, expert tells Doodnaught trial
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Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - Toronto Star - Top Stories
A leading British expert at the trial of a Toronto anesthesiologist accused of sexually assaulting surgery patients says false erotic fantasies are common under sedation.“In terms of anesthesia, having dreams of a sexual nature is not rare,” Dr. Alan Aitkenhead, a defence expert at the trial of Dr. George Doodnaught, testified Tuesday.Doodnaught, a 64-year-old married father of five, has pleaded not guilty in Ontario Superior Court to 21 counts of sex assault involving 21 women, ages 25 to 75, with allegations ranging from kissing and fondling to forced oral sex. The Crown alleges Doodnaught could conduct sex assaults behind a sterility drape dividing the patients’ upper bodies from the surgical teams.But the defence contends these women had sexual fantasies induced by drugs Doodnaught used, particularly midazolam, propofol and sufentanil.Aitkenhead told defence lawyer Brian Greenspan several studies have uncovered very realistic sexual fantasies experienced by surgical patients.One 1992 study by Dr. John Dundee investigated 21 patients, mainly sedated with midazolam, who genuinely believed they had been sexually assaulted. Thirteen cases were definitely proven fantasies and two were physically impossible, said Aitkenhead, a retired professor at the University of Nottingham and co-editor of Textbook of Anesthesia.Another British study of 112 patients given various anesthetics showed 19 reporting sex dreams, Aitkenhead testifed.“Irrespective of their precise type (of anesthetic), there is a significant proportion of patients who have dreams of a sexual nature,” he told Greenspan.The Crown has called two expert witnesses on the effect of three drugs Doodnaught used.U.S. anesthesiologist Dr. George Mashour testified it is “unlikely” that three of these drugs — midazolam, propofol and ketamine — would cause sex-related dreams or hallucinations. But Aitkenhead said he disagrees with Mashour. “He said they are unheard of. They are not,” he told Greenspan.The Crown cross-examines Aitkenhead Thursday.With files from Alyshah Hasham