NYC doctor sexually abused 11-year-old hospitalized for anorexia: suit

A North Carolina woman says she was repeatedly sexually abused by a Manhattan doctor while she was hospitalized for anorexia at age 11, new court papers show.

Susan Kryhoski, 40, claims anorexia expert Dr. Joseph Silverman molested her multiple times in 1992 her during a two-month stay at NewYork-Presbyterian’s Babies Hospital, which the doctor recommended to her family to seek treatment for her eating disorder, according to her Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit filed Thursday.

Kryhoski — who was in the sixth grade and living in New Jersey at the time — weighed just 86 pounds and was “suffering deeply” from the eating disorder, the suit says.

On Kryhoski’s first visit to the Washington Heights hospital, which has since been renamed the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, Silverman allegedly told her that he “needed to inspect her uterus to ensure that she would be capable of bearing children” and he “proceeded to examine [her] genitals” as her mom sat outside the exam room, the court papers claim.

Afterward, the doctor — who has since died — told Kryhoski’s mother that she needed to be checked into the hospital immediately, the filing says.

Kryhoski had been a patient at NewYork-Presbyterian’s Babies Hospital, which is now known as NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.
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During Kryhoski’s stay, she was assigned to a room at the end of a hall — nowhere near any other anorexia patients — where she “had virtually no contact with the outside world,” the court documents allege.

She was only allowed to speak with her parents for five minutes a day and could only see them for an hour once a week. And all contact with them was monitored by staff, the suit claims.

Kryhoski also “received little to no treatment for her condition,” the filing alleges, noting that she was given the same food as other patients despite her eating disorder.

When Silverman allegedly sexually assaulted her, he would first force the nurses to leave the room and close the door before he told the young girl that he needed to “check her insides,” the court papers claim.

While hospitalized, Kryhoski claims she was placed in an area that was not near other anorexia patients.
While hospitalized, Kryhoski claims she was placed in an area that was not near other anorexia patients.
Noam Galai/Getty Images

Silverman went on to molest and rape Kryhoski weekly, the suit alleges.

The doctor also threatened her that if she told anyone about the abuse, he would “keep her in the hospital indefinitely,” the court documents claim.

Kryhoski’s parents eventually yanked her out of the infirmary, distraught over how little contact they were allowed with their daughter, the court papers say.

“Silverman’s deplorable and humiliating conduct caused [Kryhoski] lifelong damage,” the court papers allege.

The suit, which names the hospital as a defendant, alleges that nurses and staff turned a blind eye to what was going on.

Hospital personnel “knew or should have known of Silverman’s actions,” the filing charges.

“Yet, NYPH’s staff failed to stop Silverman from assaulting plaintiff; assisted Silverman with plaintiff’s confinement and isolation; and actively discouraged, prevented, and ignored obvious signs of and attempts to discuss Silverman’s sexual assaults,” the suit claims.

In a statement, Kryhoski said she went public because she was “fighting to reclaim my story and hold the hospital accountable for their culture of silence and complicity.”

Medical personnel talk outside the emergency room at NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in New York.
The lawsuit claims that NewYork-Presbyterian was complicit in Dr. Silverman’s actions.
Mary Altaffer/AP

Her lawyer, Deborah Mallgrave, added, “It is shameful that no nurse or staff member came forward to stop Dr. Silverman’s abuse. In fact, the complaint alleges they actively encouraged and facilitated his actions by concealing evidence of wrongdoing.”

“The lawsuit demonstrates how deep the culture of cover-up and complicity ran at NYPH, which suggests that Dr. Silverman likely abused many more patients, and it is essential that they get their day in court,” Mallgrave said.

Kryhoski is seeking unspecified damages.

Kryhoski filed suit under New York’s Child Victims’ Act two-year look-back window which allows victims of childhood abuse to bring old claims that have fallen outside the statute of limitations. The look-back window is set to close Aug. 14.

NewYork-Presbyterian declined to comment.