Charges of strangulation/assault dropped against NUMC surgeon


Venkatesh Sasthakonar, a surgeon working at Nassau University Medical Center, was acquitted of charges alleging that he had strangled a 51-year old female nurse.

Nassau County District Court Judge Martin Massell found Sasthakonar, 44, of Albertson, not guilty on Feb. 20 and he was freed on a $3,500 bail.

On Jan. 20, Sasthakonar was arrested after an argument ensued between him and a nurse regarding their treatment of a patient. Following the disagreement, the nurse alleged that he approached her from behind and wrapped an elastic cord around her neck. Sasthakonar was charged with assault and strangulation.

Defense Attorney Bruce Barket, of Garden City, argued that the nurse made false claims about Sasthakonar after he reprimanded her about her approach to treating a patient, as reported by Newsday.

Sasthakonar was arrested based on the nurse’s “sworn statement,” in addition to medical records, according to a press release from Authority Detective Michael Bitsko, of the Nassau County Police Department. However, there was no further evidence and his actions on Jan. 22 were not recorded as HIPPA laws ban surveillance cameras in the specific area of the hospital where he operated.

It is unclear whether legal action will be taken against the nurse for her accusations.

More as this story develops.