Indian American Venkatesh Sasthakonar of Albertson, Long Island, 44, has been arrested and charged with second-degree strangulation and third-degree assault for attacking a nurse at Nassau University Medical Center on Monday, Jan. 22, according to NBC New York.
According to a CBS New York report, police say that Sasthakonar approached the 51-year-old nurse from behind and wrapped an elastic cord from his sweatshirt around her neck, after getting into a disagreement, which left her in pain as she was gasping for air.
A criminal complaint further states that the doctor became upset after the nurse administered medication to a patient at the incorrect time and Sasthakonar allegedly said, “I should kill you for this” and left the hospital shortly after.
“She was not injured in any way, she didn’t lose consciousness, he didn’t attempt to choke her at all. He knows this nurse for 10 years, they’ve worked together, they’re friends. He denies that he even touched her skin with the drawstring that is listed in the complaint. He didn’t attempt to choke her at all, any statement he made about ‘I’ll kill you’ was said in jest,” Sasthakonar’s attorney Melvin Roth told CBS New York.
According to the hospital’s website, Sasthakonar has been working at Nassau University Medical Center for about 10 years and he specializes in bariatric surgery for obese patients.
A statement on the matter, released by the hospital reads:
“Following the alleged incident that occurred on January 22, 2018, the hospital cooperated with the Nassau County Police Department. At no time was patient safety affected. The doctor has been suspended until further notice.”
According to ABC7, Sasthakonar is due back in court on Feb. 26.