Hospital safety and patient trust are at the forefront of concerns as reports emerge from Webster, Texas. A former UTMB Health cafeteria employee was charged with the sexual assault of a vulnerable cancer patient in her own hospital bed, as reported by KPRC 2. Authorities identified the suspect as 27-year-old Cristian Daniel Cruz Herrera, who, despite his confession to investigators, has remained at large since the charge was filed on November 15.
The shaken survivor, while battling her illness, recounted that her ordeal was exacerbated by the hospital staff's reaction post-assault. "My pleas for help were ignored and I was treated like a criminal myself, like I had done something wrong," she related in an interview obtained by KPRC 2. The hospital has pledged to review and improve its sexual assault reporting process in the wake of this egregious breach of trust and care.
In a disturbingly similar case, another Webster resident found himself pleading not guilty to a series of charges stemming from the assault of a terminally ill cancer patient. Mr. Ernest P. Chaput, 55, was arraigned on offenses including indecent assault and battery on a disabled person and witness intimidation, as detailed by The Telegram. The alleged incidents occurred after a misplaced sense of entitlement led Mr. Chaput to claim sordid rewards for hospitality provided to the victim, an acquaintance of eight years.
"His head was where it shouldn't be," the unnamed woman from UTMB Health painfully recounted, describing the harrowing experience with the cafeteria employee. "He looked up and he said, 'Does that feel good?' And I said, 'No, that does not feel good. That feels very creepy. And I want you out of my room now'," she told in her message to KPRC 2. The subsequent dismissal of her trauma by the nursing staff, as she reported, led her to contact the police herself, more unheard than helped by those sworn to care.
As the cases proceeded through the judicial system, the female from UTMB Health expressed a poignant sentiment: "I'll always have to have treatment because I'm a cancer patient. And it's always going to be different for me now." she conveyed her enduring trepidation to KPRC 2.