A former nurse is scheduled to go on trial this week, accused of drugging, then sexually assaulting a patient at Methodist Southlake Hospital as she lay sleeping in her hospital bed.
Hoa Cam Huyen is accused of injecting diphenhydramine — an antihistamine sold under the brand name Benadryl — into the IV of a woman who had just undergone a hip replacement in March 2017.
The woman told Southlake officers that the medication made her sleep and that she awoke three times to find the nurse penetrating her vagina with his fingers.
Huyen, who goes by the name "Kevin," was arrested in March 2017 and later pleaded not guilty to a charge of sexual assault.
He has a history of sexual misconduct complaints, including from at least one other hospital, according to a police affidavit, court documents, and nursing records reviewed by the Star-Telegram.
In fact, six months earlier, another patient from the Methodist Southlake Hospital had reported that a nurse named Kevin had repeatedly touched her breasts and given her a medication against her wishes that left her dizzy and fighting to stay awake, according to the police affidavit.
Southlake police investigated her report but then suspended the case in January 2017, after the hospital would not provide further information about the identity of the accused nurse, the affidavit states.
The detective "was unable to obtain a search warrant without more specific identifying information regarding 'Kevin,'" the affidavit reads.
Methodist Southlake Hospital referred questions about Huyen to its corporate office.
Stacy Covitz, a spokeswoman with Methodist Health System, would not answer specific questions about the hospital's handling of the matter, including why Huyen's full identity was not provided to police.
"We are aware of the incident, and it is our understanding that the appropriate officials at the hospital have responded to authorities," Covitz wrote in an email to the Star-Telegram. "Because this involves an active criminal investigation, we cannot comment any further."
Testimony is expected to begin in the trial Tuesday afternoon.
The first Southlake report
Though he was not charged in the first Southlake incident, details about that report were included in an arrest warrant affidavit written by Southlake Detective Robert Briggs.
According to the affidavit:
The woman had checked into Southlake Methodist Hospital at 421 East State Highway 114 on Sept. 19, 2016, complaining of chest pain.
A nurse named Kevin helped her into the emergency room and began providing care, including performing an EKG to monitor her heart rate.
But while placing leads on her chest, the nurse dragged his hands across her breasts, the woman said. It made the woman uncomfortable but she dismissed it as simple carelessness.
Throughout her stay, however, the nurse repeatedly entered her room to check on the leads, exposing and grazing her bare breasts each time he did, the woman said.
The woman told an investigator she had no doubt that the nurse was touching her for sexual gratification after a female nurse later had to replace her leads and neither exposed nor touched her breasts.
She said the nurse identified as Kevin also administered her medicine through her IV line to help with her pain, though she told him she didn't want it and was only in some discomfort, not pain.
She said she immediately felt dizzy and had blurred vision. She said the nurse continued to touch her breasts, asking if she had any pain in that location, despite her telling him repeatedly that she did not.
The woman told police she did her best to stay conscious while the nurse was in the room but eventually closed her eyes due to the medicine's side effects.
She said the nurse then touched her shoulder, prompting her to open her eyes, and told her he was "just checking to see if she had fallen asleep."
"It is possible that 'Kevin' did this in order to verify (the woman) was unconscious prior to further assaulting her," Briggs wrote in Huyen's arrest warrant affidavit.
Detective D. Green, who handled the investigation, met with Starrla Grammer, executive assistant for the hospital. Grammer confirmed that there was a nurse named Kevin at the hospital that matched the physical description provided by the woman, the affidavit stated.
But the hospital would not provide any further information about Kevin's identity, leaving Green unable to obtain a search warrant, the affidavit states. As such, the case was suspended on Jan. 11, 2017, "due to the lack of viable information relating to the suspect," the affidavit states.
In a statement released through a department spokesman, Southlake Police Chief James Brandon said, "Since it's set for trial and currently an open case, it wouldn't be appropriate for us to comment at this time."
Grammer no longer works at the hospital, according to a woman who answered the phone at the hospital Friday. Grammer did not return a phone message left Monday.
The second Southlake case
Huyen was still working at the hospital when the Southlake police were contacted on March 8, 2017, involving a sexual assault of a different patient the previous day.
The woman had undergone hip replacement surgery on March 6, 2017, and was not to take any medication other than over-the-counter Tylenol.
But while recovering the next day in a private room, the woman said a nurse by the name of Kevin asked if she was a "nap kind of girl" and explained she'd be taking a nap that afternoon. He then injected an unknown medication directly into the woman's IV, she told police.
The medication left the woman unable to stay awake.
She awoke feeling "something in her vagina," and the nurse was standing beside her.
When she questioned what he was doing, he responded, "I am checking to make sure they got your Foley out," referring to a catheter.
The woman and a nursing supervisor told police that the catheter had already been removed.
When the woman awoke a second time to find the nurse doing the same thing, she told him, "OK, stop, that's enough. It's not there," prompting him to stop and leave the room.
When she awoke, catching the nurse a third time, he immediately began attending to a bandage on her leg, straightened her bedding and left the room.
"It is apparent that Kevin frequently tested the victim's consciousness throughout the day, as the victim explains in her statement, 'He woke me up several times by touching my arm and, as soon as I woke up, he would leave without giving me care of any kind,'" Detective Briggs wrote in the affidavit.
Briggs described the behavior as consistent with the first woman's account.
The nursing supervisor identified the nurse to investigators as Huyen.
Police later obtained surveillance footage showing Huyen entering a secured drug room inside the hospital and entering his personal ID code into a computer to open a drawer containing Benadryl. Though he then canceled the transaction, the video showed him removing two vials from the drawer before closing it.
He is then seen on the video leaving the drug room with a syringe in hand, the affidavit states.
Police found two used Benadryl vials in a bio-hazard bin located next to the woman's hospital room door.
Blood taken from the woman on March 8 as part of a sexual assault exam later tested positive for the presence of diphenhydramine. According to a lab analysis report, the level of the drug was "high" and in the range given when sedation is desired.
A history of complaints
Huyen received his bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Oklahoma in Norman in 2006. The next year, he was licensed to practice nursing in Texas, according to nursing records.
Since 2007, he has worked at three other hospitals in North Texas — Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Grapevine, and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Flower Mound.
It would be the two incidents at the Southlake hospital that prompted the Texas Board of Nursing to temporarily suspend Huyen's nursing license on June 23. A few weeks later, on July 7, Huyen voluntarily surrendered his nursing license.
But through records obtained via a search warrant, Southlake police learned that Huyen had been placed on "Final Written Warning" at the Flower Mound hospital in August 2016 due to a previous internal investigation.
The internal investigation was prompted by a female patient's complaint "about a horrible experience in ICU related to unprofessional sexual behavior and touching by a male nurse fitting Kevin's description," the affidavit states.
Court documents indicate that while working at Flower Mound, Huyen allegedly rubbed a female patient's chest and caused her hand to touch his groin area and penis. She was also given an unknown substance that rendered her drowsy or incapacitated, the documents state.
And in October 2015, a different patient in Flower Mound accused Huyen of "unprofessional sexual behavior," the documents state.
Mark Riordan, a spokesman with Texas Health Resources, said Huyen began working at the Flower Mound hospital on June 13, 2011.
His employment evidently overlapped with his work at Methodist Southlake Hospital, because Riordan said Huyen was fired March 17, 2017, after hospital officials learned he was under investigation by Southlake police.
The affidavit states Huyen had also received written counseling regarding missing medication on numerous occasions.
He had been fired from Methodist Dallas Medical Center for "no response to counseling." Additional information about Huyen's termination was not stated in the affidavit, and the spokeswoman for Methodist Health would not respond to questions about what prompted his termination.