Hands off: Renowned UVA hand surgeon arrested

A highly regarded UVA surgeon will be in court Monday, April 18 on charges that he assaulted a nurse last month while both were at work.

According to the court file in Albemarle County District Court, Dr. Abhinav "Bobby" Chhabra, 42, an orthopaedic surgeon and co-director of the new University of Virginia Hand Center, was arrested at his Glenmore home on April 4 on assault charges stemming from the March 22 incident involving Nancy Heister of Troy, Virginia, a nurse and patient care coordinator at the Center.

According to Heister's April 1 complaint, the assault occurred as she was walking down the hallway at the Center. Chhabra, she alleges, grabbed her by both her upper arms, spun her around, and forced her backwards into a ladder.

"My head went backwards when I hit the ladder," Heister writes in her complaint, "and my glasses fell off the back of my head."

Heister asked "What are you doing?" to which she says Chhabra responded, "I'm pushing you into a ladder."

Heister then grabbed her glasses and left.

Dr. Chhabra, a nationally recognized orthopaedic educator, helped create the Hand Center in 2002. In February, UVa’s Medical Center unveiled the newly renovated $4 million facility in the Fontaine Research Park. Medical Center spokesperson Peter Jump had no comment on the arrest, but did confirm that Dr. Chhabra is an employee. Dr. Chhabra did not respond to a request for comment.

Heister, 44, an RN who is in charge of coordinating and planning patient visits at the Center, is currently on leave and could not be reached for comment.

A hearing date in Albemarle General District Court is set for Monday, April 18 at 9am.

UPDATE April 18 8:14am:

The hearing in Albemarle General District Court has been rescheduled for June 7 at 9am. Chhabra will be represented by defense attorney Rhonda Quagliana, currently representing murder suspect George Huguely with her partner Francis McQ. Lawrence. Quagliana, known for taking high-profile cases, also represented William N. Beebe in the so called UVA 12-step rape case.

UPDATE May 31

Hearing has been rescheduled again to June 22 at 1pm

UPDATE June 22

Back in April, Dr. Abhinav "Bobby" Chhabra, 42, an orthopaedic surgeon and co-director of the new University of Virginia Hand Center, was arrested at his Glenmore home on assault charges stemming from a March 22 incident involving Nancy Heister of Troy, Virginia, a nurse and patient care coordinator at the Center. But at a 1pm hearing today in Albemarle County General District Court, those charges were dropped in less than half a minute.

Chhabra and his wife, who was smiling at her husband throughout the brief afternoon hearing, defense attorney Rhonda Quagliana, and Will Hendricks, Albemarle County assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, were present in the empty courtroom, but Heister, who had Chhabra arrested for allegedly assaulting her in the hallway at the Center, was not present. Calls to Heister have gone unanswered, as have calls to Quagliana and Hendricks.

According to a UVA Medical Center spokesperson Peter Jump, Heister no longer works at the Hand Center, but is still employed at the Medical Center. Asked if Chhabra or the Medical Center would be releasing a statement regarding the alleged incident, Heister's relocation, or the court decision, Jump said the Medical Center would have nothing to add.

198 comments

"I'm pushing you into a ladder."

What the heck?

That's gotta be the most bizarre assault claim I've ever heard about. So, any reason *why* this guy decides to randomly grab and spin this woman around and shove her into a ladder?

And who knew that somebody could get arrested for something like this. Unless there's video footage proving her claim it's just he-said she-said. I'm not saying she made it up, but how can somebody get arrested for a claim as tame and strange as that when there's no proof?

Bizarre.

Did anyone show up to give her a hand?

The motivation for this claim is unclear. However, in our society, we are at the mercy of the accuser. Dr. Chhabra is a compassionate physician who has help thousands of patients; he is a nationally recogized mentor to young doctors in training and an outstanding leader. UVA has benefited tremendously from his selfless dedication.
Indeed a bizarre claim....

i'll bet any good lawyer could just say "chhabracadabra" and make the charges disappear.

I am familiar with the details of this case. Dr. Chhabra will certainly be exonerated and when he is I sincerely hope he will consider a countersuit for defamation and any loss of revenue associated with defending this baseless claim.

I’m typically a fan of The Hook, but I have to say you have really let me down on this one. At this point, why is this worthy of “breaking news”? Dr. Chhabra has been charged but not convicted. I would be willing to bet that on any given day in Charlottesville several people have the same charge placed against them. That’s not news, so why is this? Of course the answer is simple, you want to sell a few more ads and make a few more bucks. Shame on you! You have contributed to the defamation of a very valuable resource to our community.

To be clear, I’m not saying you should be censored. We all know that is wrong. I’m saying you could have been far more responsible in the manner which you chose to report this.

Curtis, The Hook can only report what they know from public records and what they have been told by reliable sources. And the doctor certainly can't make any public statements right now.

I think most intelligent people can see that there's something seriously wrong in this accusation. I can hardly wait to see both sides of the tale.

INNOCENT until PROVEN quilty. IF this claim is true, it would be SO out of character for this man as to be improbable!

This is NOT the man I have known and worked with for many years. There is something really wrong with this "claim".
And shame on you, Hook, for sensationalizing this "news". Don't you have anything better to do than slander a good man?

I have known this doctor for years. He is an honorable gentleman who cares deeply about his patients and his profession. For his entire career at UVA he has been respected as a gentleman. I have also dealt with the nurse in question. I am looking forward to whole story. I would also like to say that I am very disappointed and frankly, disgusted, with the Hook's loud headline which I feel is pure yellow journalism. I am usually a Hook supporter but the Hooks' editors have been carried away with their own arrogance with this headline. I totally understand the importance of presenting the story but the headline is not acceptable. The Hook owes Dr. Chhabra an apology. The Hook needs to watch out for their tendency toward sensationalism which seems to have gotten worse in the last year.

The hook reported the facts.. a nationally known Doctor has been charged with assulting a Nurse. He was arrested. There needs to be probablr cause for an arrest warrant to be issued.

It is news.

If he is innoncent there is NOTHING preventing him from telling his side of the story. I don't what his "lawyers" advise... he can speak up. The truth is the truth is the truth.

There are two sides to every story, so hopefully The Hook will be at the hearing on Monday morning to report on them both. However, I doubt that the county attorney(s) would have issued a warrant for this distinguished surgeon's arrest without having sufficient evidence or grounds. The University supposedly has a "zero tolerance" policy for violence in the workplace. So the question for the moment is whether UVa has put both the doctor and the nurse on leave pending the outcome of the hearing?

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having worked for dr chhabra i can tell you that he is AWESOME! this article makes me absolutely sick to my stomach especially knowing where it all came from...keep up the good work dr chhabra your patients and staff have nothing but wonderful things to say about you!!!!!!!!! i hope we can forget this petty BS just as quickly as it came about

People can be one thing in one setting and another in another. There is no doubt about the people Dr. C has helped. However, even so, this does not exclude or mitigate a specific instance of abuse, if this proves to be true. The planned hearing should help resolve this.

Thanks Moderator!

I too have known Dr. Chhabra for years and do not believe a word of this. I can only hope to be half the man Dr. Chhabra is. He is not only an outstanding physician he is absolutely one of the best human beings I have ever met. He gives more of himself to help others than any other person who I have ever met. I often wonder how he has the energy to do what he does. Not only is he a leader in this community, in the hospital and the world of hand surgery; but he is also a great father who bends over backwards to help anyone in need even if that means sacrificing time with his family.

This article absolutely disgusts me. I too know the nurse in question and I definitely know who has more credibility and who I would believe. This is nothing but pure propaganda. I am ashamed and appalled that The Hook would report such a scandalous story that appears to be only done to tarnish a great man's reputation. All this will do is make it harder for him to help others. I think this will be the last time I read The Hook and will spend as much time and energy that I can to ensure others stop reading it as well.

You should be ashamed of this story.

Let me get this straight...she was assaulted on March 22 & waited until April 1 to file a complaint? Sounds like a BAD April fool's joke to me.

Let me guess about proof . I'll bet that there is no footage of this incident . Bet the security cameras or tapes were not working , or not asked for & not available .

The first words out of my mouth when I read the article: BS. As one person who posted a comment pointed out, "People can be one thing in one setting and another in another," however, I suspect this will be tossed out of court. It's just a crying shame that such an incredibly wonderful, caring man as Dr. Chhabra has to be subjected to the wrath of someone who will, no doubt, turn out to be an opportunist.

i know the person this happened too. She is an excellent friend and a terrific person. Dr.guy (just can't remember his name) has had a history of these encounters with women through his time at UVA that have not been pursued by the victims. What most of his doctor buddies who posted the hateful comments at the moment this story hit The Hook's website fail to realize is that the UVA PD, ACPD, and CVILLE PD, had to have had enough evidence for a judge to be able to sign off of an arrest warrant. Do you really think that if you have worked with a man for a month to a couple of years that you would be able to know his secrets? He is a surgeon who has been able to bring a lot of accreditation to UVA along with millions of dollars in federal and state grand funding, so UVA has a lot to lose if he is convicted guilty of his crimes. I believe this is the reason why his buddies are attempting to back him up, UVA is obviously doing everything it can short of firing the plantiff.
GREAT JOB HOOK FOR BRINGING WHAT SOME DON'T WANT TO SEE OR HEAR ABOUT TO THE PUBLIC'S FACES!!!

Tthe UVA PD, ACPD, and CVILLE PD had to have had enough evidence for a judge to be able to sign off of an arrest warrant????

I doubt a judge signed the arrest warrant. It was most likely issued by one of the local magistrates. If the magistrates refused to issue a warrant for the plaintiff, she can then approach the Chief Magistrate or a judge and ask for the warrant.

The local magistrates have become nothing more than a rubber stamp, IMHO. They will write a warrant for anybody and anything after a plaintiff signs an affadavit stating a criminal offense has taken place.

"HeWhoKnowsWillSucceed" obviously doesn't have a clue. It is incredibly easy to get a warrant. In this day and age, anyone can accuse anyone of anything. I am not suggesting that the accused is not often guilty. But you don't have to read much between the lines in this case to see what is going on. A grudge, for whatever reason, taking advantage of a media crazy world. This particular situation was turned into the medical board and the case was dropped because there was nothing to support the story. While it may be true that people act differently in different settings, it is also true that a person doesn't change his/her true character. This is a man of integrity who is well known as a compassionate caregiver and person by everyone who knows him and throughout the entire community, . Can you be a good doctor and a bad person? Absolutely. Can a good man make a mistake? Of course. But the regretful part of this circumstance is that The Hook could not wait for these questions to be answered in their proper setting. They want people to be accountable for their actions? Who is the writer of this article accountable to? It is not good journalism to take a man's career and report unjustified, unproven accusations that are slanderous until proven otherwise, in order to sell papers. The Hook is on level with the Enquirer with this stuff. I hope the people of Cville are onto you.

I am also very familiar with the nurse involved in this case and with at least one side of the story. The delay in filing the criminal complaint was because UVa officials did not take this dedicated nurse's administrative complaint(s) to her supervisor and department chair seriously (in fact, the chair now states above that her claim is "bizarre"), probably because they involved such a distinguished physician with millions in funding. She was ultimately left with no alternative than to file the criminal complaint of assault and battery when the University failed to do anything to protect her. The delay in filing the complaint with the police was to give the University time to respond. Importantly, this is not simply a case of she-said, he-said. "Nurse Nancy" presented to the commonwealth attorneys and magistrate more than sufficient incriminating evidence (audio messages and emails from the doctor) for them to issue an arrest warrant. This nurse would not have had to take this action to protect herself if UVa had taken her complaint seriously, investigated the situation as required under its zero tolerance for violence and anti-bullying in the workplace policies and assurances with the federal government, and taken prompt corrective action. Instead they are now taking retribution against her moving her daily from job and/or job site, making the institution even more liable and putting itself at the risk of losing federal funding for blowing the whistle. Perhaps if UVa had taken appropriate action in the VQR case, also detailed by Dave McNair in The Hook, the suicide that drew national attention to UVa would never have happened? Apparently, the institution has not yet learned its lesson. As for Dr. Chhabra himself, there is no doubt that he is a highly distinguished and excellent orthopedic surgeon, but that does not mean that he can treat people working for him in this manner. It is about time that someone stood up to him and that the University take these illegal labor practices and complaints very seriously regardless of the stature of the defendent. Thank you Hook and thank you Nancy for your courage.

"eagle eye" states that,"Nurse Nancy" presented to the commonwealth attorneys and magistrate more than sufficient incriminating evidence (audio messages and emails from the doctor) for them to issue an arrest warrant.
Just curious if you have heard these messages or seen the emails, or is it just something that "Nurse Nancy" told you about?

Eagle eye...you have obviously never been around Dr. Chhabra in any capacity. He doesn't treat people this way and that is what is so "bizzare" about this story.

Heard and seen. I presume that the court will make them public at the hearing on Monday.

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To Wahoo: I have but he has never treated me this way, either. I am not a psychologist but I have met many distinguished physicians and researchers in my career. Fortunately, only a few had dual personalities. It can be particularly dramatic between how they treat their patients versus their employees. Perhaps this is the case here? My wife once worked for a very distinguished MD once and ended up in an almost identical situation as "Nurse Nancy." I only saw the good side of that doctor for years until one day when he went bezerk and accosted my wife. That was the final straw for him! I'm not saying that this is the case here, but from what I have seen and heard, I would not doubt it. Only time will tell.

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Wahoo, I have personally worked with Dr. Chhabra for 12 years. This example of his behavior is what you don't see, yet happens consistently...

Reality Chack states : "Has anyone seen a ladder in the hallway on UVA's prestigious settings where there hasn't been a gentleman from Maintenance standing there?? He is the witness to this chauvinistic MD grabbing his Nurse Coordinator (for over 5 years).& shoving her into a ladder, obviously he outweighs her & obviously this was done with Malicious intent."

From what I have heard, he thinks the whole thing is bogus. It will be interesting to see how he testifies.

Funny...I have worked closely with him for several years as well and NEVER seen anything like this. I truly doubt you are who you claim...unless you are Nancy Heister.

Age, sex (gender) and rank might have something to do with the disparities in observations among Nancy, Wahoo and Reality Check. BTW, Nancy is not commenting, so you can rule her out, Wahoo.

Wahoo, I worked at UVA for.12 yrs... dates cannot be revealed at this time, but 7 years in Orthopedic.division. U r definitely a skeptic & doubting Thomas. Get a hobby...Justice will b served!

So...I am guesing that based upon your comments that I know Dr. Chhabra better than you ever did...and I again have never seen ANYTHING like this. Funny, if his "god-like ego" was such a problem, I would have at least seen something similar. Sounds like you have a chip on your shoulder or are disgruntled...probably has something to do with why you aren't working there anymore.

And get a hobby? Are you serious? What are you talking about?

I am sure justice will prevail... I have no doubt.

I am done with this...it makes sick

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Bizarrre: So which of the nurses contributing to this discussion are you equating with Hitler?

Curtis: He can't counter sue the commonwealth for defamation of character. First of all, there is no suit to file a counter suit against. This is a criminal action, not a civil action. Secondly, he can't sue The Hook for defamation of character for reporting what is in the police/court report and part of the public record. The only possible action that I could foresee is a criminal one against the nurse brought by the commonwealth against her for making a false accusation. However, given the evidence so far presented to the county attorneys and magistrate, this would be impossible.

The Hitler comment makes me sick. Where is your head? I cant believe anyone would even put these two people in the same sentence. Even if this dr. is innocent or guilty no one should be compared to Hitler.

So two grown ups have an issue, one crosses the line, no one is hurt - except for pride perhaps -

Instead of sitting down, talking it out reaching a place of grace and forgiveness you run to a lawyer? You attempt to destroy a person's career? My only comfort is there is a God and He knows the motives and hearts of those involved.

I guess this is the society we live in....so so sad...

.02 says, "The Hook is on level with the Enquirer with this stuff.." which leads me to this: 'Enquiring' minds want to know, why, pray-tell, the "victim" (by her own admission) was wearing her glasses on the back of her head?

"and my glasses fell off the back of my head."

I agree with 'eagle eye.'
I am familiar with several people in various departments within the UVA Medical Center (married to one of them) who have spoken to their supervisors (and to HR over their supervisor's objections) and I can vouch that UVA's 'zero tolerance' policy against harassment, bullying, et cetera is enforced by zero reporting. Supervisors are told to "blame the victim" and "don't tell me anything about such situations; I need deniability." Many such violations have happened at UVA and are happening even as you read this. Most go unreported because the victims know that not only will their complaints not be considered seriously, but they (the victims) will be threatened with demotion or even loss of job if they continue to rock the boat. Occasionally the harassment/bullying reaches an intensity that results in VQR's tragedy and now Nurse Nancy's criminal complaint.
I hope The Hook will continue to investigate and publish stories of all those victims of UVA's shortsighted policy of 'zero reporting.'

Grown Up: She tried that approach in the past to no avail. She also brought this problem informally to the attention of authorities at the med ctr previously, with no response just as "surly and old" describes above. Even without this pattern of behavior by her supervisor, this physical assault alone was sufficiently traumatic to merit immediate administrative action by the administration pending investigation but nothing was done. This is the university's MO. As I've said before, they have not learned from experience despite all the talk, training, etc. HR, in particular, is almost totally ineffective in dealing effectively with these serious workplace issues other than offering lip service. Furthermore, this nurse was injured in the arm when she was shoved into the ladder (on which there were two maintenance employees who could have fallen and also been hurt - will they ever come forward as witnesses and riskl losing their jobs?) and for some reason her medical report never made its way from WorkMed to Worker's Compensation...another issue to be investigated by the authorities and possibly the medical ethics board. Finally, "surly and old" hits the nail right on the head about unreported violations. Perhaps it is time for unionization in order to stop all these labor law violations?

First, I have worked with BOTH Dr. Chhabra and Nancy for well over 10 years. I, too, have engaged in a disagreement with Dr. Chhabra. I can tell you, HE NEVER...NOT ONCE.... laid a hand on me. He NEVER, not ONCE made me feel in danger or threatened. As a matter of fact, he took the time to call me later that day and make sure we were "OK", not just professionally, but personally. He is such a warm and caring physician, not to mention person to work with and for. I also know Nancy to be a proud person. HEAR ME OUT. Not a BAD person. A proud person. She could very well be mistaken by the intent of events, the extent of events. As a previous poster said, "So two grown ups have an issue, one (allegedly)crosses the line, no one is hurt - except for pride perhaps - "
I also know Nancy to be a "physicial" person. By this, I mean, she is a toucher. When she talks, jokes, etc, it would NOT be weird for it to be accompanied by a small playful push or touch. She also has a sarcastic, rougher side. Again, NOT BAD, just is. Mix that with a possible heated conversation, and we are reading about an alledged result.
I warn others not to jump into Camp Nancy, or Camp Chhabra. There is more to this story (as there ALWAYS is) and if you weren't there, you really don't know.

I pray for peace and understanding for BOTH of them. I feel like this was a misunderstanding of intent/extent. They not only worked professionally together, but were also friends.

It's funny how the doctor behaving in a manner in which he should not have is now being related to the profession as well as the institution which is the UVA medical center as a whole. Shame on all of you who are taking a person and saying they represent a group. It is wrong to use this example to project on groups as part of some sort of agenda. Please treat people as individuals and stop making assumptions about everything else based on a single case.

Richard, when you say, "that it's funny how the doctor behaving in a manner in which he should not have," do you have first hand knowledge of how the doctor behaved, or are you basing your assessment solely on what you are reading here?

I see a verbal confrontation or argument over something that happened in the workplace and when the nurse indicated her disdain for whatever the doctor was saying by attempting to walk away, he grabbed her and restrained her. Technically it's assault, but we'll see how the story plays out once it gets to court. maybe we've got another Frank Buck hot-headed lapse of judgment when presented with an exasperating person who's being provocative. I know neither of these people and am just trying to read between the lines.

Hmmm the story doesn't really make sense. I'm sure there's a HUGEEEE chunk of the story we're missing here.

Hopefully it's just one big misunderstanding....

Guilty or not guilty it is unreasonable to think that even the most well mannered, easy-going, polite and caring person couldn't loose their temper from time to time.

Wow.

Reading through the defensive remarks of Dr. Chabra is very troubling -- not because he stands for all UVA doctors, but because the defense of him is repeatedly beside the point and speculative: "I've known him for years, so he couldn't possibly have done this"; "she's a touchy kind of person, so she must be to blame ..." "pushing into a ladder, what's the big deals" (the fact that he's >>a lot bigger and heavier than her<< seems to be neglected -- as is the fact that >>any physical abuse<

at the workplace is always unacceptable and can point to potential escalation). I really wonder what planet the people who say "he's been a great person and could never do such things" live on. History is full of people capable of conducting themselves very well in one context (e.g. toward the equals, toward supervisors) and conducting themselves differently toward others -- esp. toward subordinates -- only naiveté or, in some cases, willful ignorance can miss this point. He's viewed as "important," bring in lots of money, a nationally recognized physician -- she, although she committed to him and the Hand Center for many years, including many tough years -- is viewed as "just another nurse" - who must be to blame if his temper or response to pressure prompted to "boil over" and be physically abusive -- and the really disturbing thing is that there are witnesses and there is evidence -- yet, some members of the medical community nonetheless prefer to go by 'past reputation' -- rather than evidence. I hope they won't be operating on me any time soon ....

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I have also been a victim of bullying here at UVA. I also went to HR, who "investigated" my concerns. I was told to decide if I wanted to work with that type of management style and that I had a "target on my back." What a great solution to a problem that is going on everywhere.

A wise man once reminded me of the quote "Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel." But in this case, I can’t help myself. I have worked closely with Dr. Chhabra for years. I am in a completely subordinate role but have never once been made to feel that way. He is respectful, compassionate, humble, and appreciative and strives for excellence everyday. His honest concern for patients, colleagues, their families and everyone else around him is completely unparalleled. I am honored just to know him and truly blessed to work closely with him everyday. He is an incredible human being.

GJ--
you took my "Touchy" remark out of context. READ the whole sentence. I did NOT imply she is overly-sensative, I relayed a fact that she is a toucher. She has physical contact with people when she talks.
I also believe my personal experience with Dr. Chhabra is not speculative. I shared a personal experience of a disagreement with the Dr, and the FACT that I never felt endangered by him. Nor have i ever witnessed him "grab" anyone with ill intent.
Do I believe people can have a lapse in judgement in a heated situation? YES.
But I also think that applies to BOTH parties, the "victim" and the Dr.

There are two issues here: ...one is the case at hand and the other is bullying at UVA. It is an error to equate these two issues as related until all the facts come out. I stand by my support of Dr. Chhabra unless I am proven wrong. But in all the years I knew Dr. Chhabra I never saw or heard the slightest sign of offensive behavior. But as to the other question: I too was subjected to bullying by a supervisor and a few years later by an administrator at the Medical Center (not in Ortho.). HR and Admin. were no help whatsoever. I suffered classic physical and emotional symptoms of being bullied. Employees are often treated very badly at that institution and an long overdue change needs to come from the top. I hope President Sullivan will take a close look at what is going on.

Eagle Eye, at the conclusion of the trial, if and when the doctor is found "not guilty", there most certainly is a lawsuit possible. The Dr. Chhabra can sue the plaintiff/victim Heister for defamation of character, malicious prosecution and a few other assorted torts. I just finished the last of eight such lawsuits where a small handful of people attempted to assassinate my character and reputation in this city. In 2 of the 8, I still have outstanding judgements collecting interest. When the debtors in these outstanding judgements least expect it, when buying or selling a home for example, or perhaps an inheritance of some sort, I will collect my judgements and interest in full.

What damages is she alleging anyway? Seems claiming that her glasses fell off her head is supposed to have people's imagination leap ahead to something that actually damaged her . She doesn't claim to be knocked down or struck or hot or slapped nothing . Just that her glasses fell off her head and she doesn't even claim they were damaged . She doesn't appear to be tramatized ,didn't have to flee,scream for help,or was restrained . She apparently had the opportunity to calmly pick up her glasses , examine them and delicately replace them back on the back ,front ,side or top of her head in the particular manner she habitually does. Sounds like less damage than she would endure than when going outside in a moderate wind storm . Not knowing either party this dirty little story leaves one strongly suspecting that the only grapping here is somebody trying to grab cash from the institution,the Dr. and perhaps workers disability insurance .Public relations in the press is generally used as part of the con .

So the nurse is a toucher when she talks to people . Does she use the touching in a bullying condasending manner to get her way ? Maybe she touched the Dr and he touched her back .Who could blame a person for that ? This wouldn't be criminal behaviour as the principle of touching another in self defense of being touched would apply . A wise friend once told me to " never touch a hand doctor when wearing your glasses on the back of your head"

I know nothing of this particular claim of supervisor abuse at UVA. My only comment is that in the American workplace HR is no friend to lower level employees with complaints against upper level employees. Some HR professionals are honest enough to admit this to complainants, who seek protection from bullying supervisors. At UVa, a number of us have been told that there is no redress for abuse by high ranking officials. As Jimmy Carter said many years ago, the honest and compassionate HR professionals at UVA tell us, "Life is unfair."

This is a criminal and not a civil proceeding brought by the commonwealth. She is not asking for any damages although if UVa continues to treat her like a leper and continues to take retribution against her, it will surely have to pay one way or another.

Yes, Dr. Chhabra could file a lawsuit against her IF he is found not guilty of this misdemeanor. However, he would have to prove defamation of character and malicious persecution. Having been in federal court once in a university-relatedcase that lasted two plus weeks to defend myself of these charges from another distinguished scientist, I can state that if she can document and truthfully explain under oath everything that she told the commonwealth attorneys and magistrate, he would not have a leg to stand on.

As for being "touchy", people of many different cultures and backgrounds are "touchy" while some others are not or even forbidden to touch others by their cultures. Regardless, this is no excuse for pushing someone into a ladder and inflicting physical injury as was the case here.

Finally, this is both the responsibility of the individual(s) involved as well as the institution. This is the entire basis for all the assurances that UVa files with the federal government and which the institution is bound to uphold IF it wants to receive support from the federal government. The lack of response by UVa to Nurse Nancy's complaints to superiors and HR indicates that UVa is once again not abiding by its assurances or the labor laws of our land.

Aw come on enough of the melodrama ,trying to defame the Dr ,University etc etc..This is clearly a straight forward shakedown case trying to trump up some sort of legal finding against the Dr and Institution to bolster phase 2 . Phase 2 is the fantasy law suit which would surely come . If she started the touching then a person has the right to defend himself from unwanted touching . You are allowed to actually push someone away from your space who is encroaching it and touching you .If a persons" actions result in them being pushed against a latter or wall then that is the price to pay when taking the risk of running around "touching" your fellow workers . It is not a culture custom thing but one of basic self defense generally recognized by the majority of mankind.It seems like the Dr is the victum in the first instance and being persecuited for being a Dr. Looks like the old Dr---- Nurse thing !!!! It should be laughed out of court but the falling glasses and ladder reference should be quite compelling to some dough head .

Frank:

I suggest that you wait until you hear the tapes and read the email from the doctor to the nurse before trivializing what happened. Apparently, the doctor didn't think what happened was so innocuous. As for defaming the University, it is a great institution, but it has a lot of improvement to do on the labor law compliance end (reminder below).

Jan 31, 2011
UVA Health System Says Owes Employees Overtime Pay
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP)
The University of Virginia Health System says it plans to pay hundreds of employees several millions of dollars in overtime pay after it violated federal labor laws.

The University of Virginia Health System says it plans to pay hundreds of employees several millions of dollars in overtime pay after it violated federal labor laws.

The Daily Progress reports that UVA health system officials found the violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act when they were applying for federal reimbursements from expenses from a big snowstorm last winter. The violations were related to rules over which workers are covered by the law and which aren't. Some jobs that should have been considered for overtime weren't labeled as such.

Officials say they're still trying to determine the exact cost. The employees most affected by the change include registered nurses.

Eagle Eye, "truthfully under oath" means absolutely nothing nowadays. I have watched defendants lie under oath. I have watched witnesses lie under oath. And sadly enough, I have watched cops lie under oath. It all boils down to which tale the judge believes. And if the judge believes Dr. Ghhabra in this case, Heister has serious problems coming her way, IMHO.

As far as a civil lawsuit, there's no rhyme or reason to the damages juries may or may not hand out. A lady in Richmond, Virginia just won $500,000 in various damages because a cop arrested her on an outstanding bad check warrant. Her name and the name on the check were the same, but it wasn't her check. As I saw the facts (identification), anybody with an IQ over 56 or over the age of 10 could have seen this lady was not the same lady who passed the bad check. I suppose this is why the jury awarded her so much in damages. It was just plain sloppy police work, something that is for some reason taking place much more often nowadays. (The cop shoppe involved obviously appealed this decision, we will have to wait and see what happens on appeal.)

It kinda looks like UVA breed criminals doesn't it? Footballers , Lacrosse players, Staff and now Doctors !!!! Don't drink the water ;no matter what!!!!!!

It's disgusting how people will excuse inexcusable behavior perpetrated by the affluent and influential.

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sorry for the triple P

I am a RN in the out-patient surgical center and have worked with Dr. Chhabra for three years. We work in a stressful and fast paced environment yet I have never seen Dr. Chhabra act inappropriately or be disrespectful in any way. I am sorry but I find it extremely difficult to believe this and wonder if there is some hidden agenda behind this accusation.

Why were the maintenance workers on the ladder not asked for their comments?????

Probably because they were both on the same ladder in violation of OSHA regulations.

Jeanne: As of this time, as far as I know, the facilities maintenance men on the ladder have not been interviewed but I imagine they will be tracked down by the court, identified and subpoenaed to testify if this case goes to trial. Nancy is not trying to shakedown the University. She just wants an equivalent job elsewhere in the system so that she doesn't have to deal with this doc any longer, not be subjected to daily harassment

Frank: If you want to talk about playing fast and loose with our tax dollars, let's start with our attorney general and his investigation/lawsuit against UVa and professor over "global warming." I think at last count between the Commonweatlh and the University over $1 million of our money has been wasted on legal fees alone on this frivilous fishing expedition. If you want to help deal with the state debt, recall the AG!

All the makings for a made-for-tv-movie, the saintly, beloved Dr.Bob is forced to defend himself from the nefarious Nurse Nan. Rally the boys and let's take care of Dr. Bob because his conduct should never be questioned. Malign the victim, and perhaps you can bully her into submission. And doctors are renowned for treating nurses with respect and consideration, right? Who needs to worry about pesky things like objectivity or fairness when you can get your exercise jumping to conclusions. After all, if you didn't see it, it couldn't possibly occur.

I have known Nancy for some time now. She is an honest, dedicated and caring person willing to stand up for what's right. Good luck, don't let them grind you down.

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Good God, I hope all of these barely literate people don't really work for the hospital.

I have no specific information about this event or these two individuals, but I can say with certainty that UVA, and especially the medical center, has a strong top-down culture in which managers react extremely negatively to anyone who challenges them. All the way up and down the administrative structure. Very Southern (read Meyerson's recent column in WaPo).

Yigdee hit the nail on the head! UVA hospital is a terrible employer that does not take care of their employees. But, some of us need a paycheck and work there, THATS WHAT THEY COUNT ON!!!

I certainly didn't have time to read all of the above so this may have already been stated. First of all in Virginia an assault is any unwanted touching of another person. Second, Anyone and I mean anyone can walk into a magistrate, swear to tell the truth and take out a warrant on anyone else as long as they have their name and address for sevice. Gas bag is very correct about lieing in court! Defendants and witnesses lie every day; they are even caught in lies and admit to lieing, but they very rarely are charged with it. Anyone caught lieing under oath should be charged for felony perjury. The only thing that stops someone from getting a warrant is the fact that if it's a felony they require a plice report.

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Once accused the stain of the smear is never completely eradicated . The groper/accuser/controller/victumizer is in effect still controlling events ; unfortunately !

Good point, Frank. Even if Dr. Chhabra is found innocent of this allegation, he will always be remembered as "the doctor who assaulted that nurse for no reason!"

The reason for this is the fact the media (TV, local newspaper) flashes the name and criminal charge up before trial. Once the doctor is found innocent, it is no longer news and never makes the TV news at 6:00 p.m. or the local newspaper most of the time.

I'll have to give The Hook credit here though, they will usually follow up on events like this and let the public know the final outcome. And all the dirty little details the TV news and local newspaper never mentioned.

The Hook: Charlottesville's version of Radar Online, TMZ, The Star and Page Six, and US Weekly all in one! Nice Journalism you got there Hawes...

I also know Ms. Heister through her volunteer efforts outside of UVA. She is a hardworking and generous person. I know she was quite upset the evening of these events. It is not a case of groping. It IS a case of someone in a supervisor capacity laying his hands on someone in an unwelcome manner. It is not OK. The delay in reporting it to the police was indeed because Ms. Heister was trying to sort things out through UVA's human resource.

She was there with Dr. Chhabra at the beginning of the Hand Center and is just as invested in it as he is. It is not the first time he has shown aggression toward her. They had a comfort level with one another in which he felt he could say anything to her, in any way. He crossed the line when it became physical. I saw her arms that evening. It was not a playful shove, nor was it groping. I have also seen some of the e-mails from the Dr. to her.

She is now having to deal with possibly being demoted or shunted to inferior positions because she is standing up for herself. Does he stand to have a stigma attached to his reputation? Possibly for a while. Does she also stand to have that happen? Yes. UVA has already started working on that for her. There is no monetary compensation sought, simply to have an equitable position elsewhere so she may continue on with her career. She did not bring a suit against UVA, just him.

He is innocent until proven guilty, but that does not make her guilty until proven innocent.

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Frank: Could you please make use of a spellcheck option on your device??? Your words may hold more water if they are spelled correctly, but I sincerely doubt it.

Eagle Eye: Your statements are spot on & realistic. Thanks for making this situation extremely clear.

Be the Hero: Very well stated........At least there are some of us Subordinates in her corner!!

I don't know the facts, but I was a patient of Dr. Chhabra. This accusation seems completely out of character for the doctor I met. He was thoroughly professional and very even tempered.

Eagle Eye, it's been my experience that unions are as helpful as HR and supervisors in the chain of command in these types of situations: that is, not at all. The sad fact is that a person who is seeking relief from a supervisor who's a bully has few remedies, and those remedies tend to be pretty drastic b/c a reasonable approach is rarely successful. Some people cannot handle being in positions of power. However, once there...

I have known both Ms. Heister and Dr. Chhabra for some time. Ms. Heister has helped Dr. Chhabra and the other members of the Hand Center team develop a very patient focused and successful outpatient facility. And I have watched Ms. Heister be playful, joking and teasing with Dr. Chhabra in the past too. Dr. Chhabra is a very devoted and caring physician who wants to make a very busy and stressful clinic an enjoyable work environment for its employees. I wasn't present when this unfortunate event occurred. However, I can say that that I can not believe that any of Dr. Chhabra's actions that day in the clinic was intended to be anything more than a playful interaction. All that I can add to these posted comments is my believe that this entire matter has gotten out of control. It can only be hurtful to both individuals and their families along with their friends and associates. I only hope that further negative comments about either person involved will stop. Please let the legal process deal with this matter and stop additional negative and hurtful comments!

Reality check- thanks for the spellcheck comment, how hilarious!

Sorry about the multiple comments. Due to the storm, the server apparently is having problems receiving comments.

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I am not sure that "BeThe Hero" was there in the hallway to witness any of this, so his/her information is undoubtedly lopsided based solely on unofficial "testimony" provided to him/her by the "victim." Had they been there, in person, to witness this alleged "assault," I feel certain their bantering wouldn't be so biased.

Bannerman: This is the same type of logic that was used for so many years in dealng with victims of spousal abuse and rape. Hopefully, the witnesses to the incident, who were on the ladder, will come forward and not lose their jobs if they do.

They were not the only witnesses, EagleEye. I think in total there were at least five others. As far as spousal abuse and rape: 99% of those incidents happen in the confines of four walls were there are no witnesses, not in the hallway of an otherwise busy hand clinic where many people are coming and going.

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Eagle Eye: The University of Virginia is committed to providing a workplace and educational environment, programs and activities free of retaliation against persons who, in good faith (holding a genuine belief in the truth of one’s allegations), complain of discrimination and/or harassment, or who assist or participate in the complaint process. This Policy does not allow curtailment or censorship of constitutionally protected expression. So, all witnesses who are UVA faculty, staff and residents involved with this incident will have their jobs protected should they be called to testify.

Frank Speaker: The recorded phone conversations are not conversations at all. They are phone messages knowingly left by the doctor on her answering machine and cell phone, so they were not surrepticiously recorded. If they were, they could not be used as evidence and, secondly, would be illegal resulting in the commonwealth attorneys and magistrate taking criminal action against her.

Mike Boblitz: Thanks for so eloquently reiterating the UVa policies and assurances. However, they are not always followed as we all know. I have experienced it myself. I blew the whistle on my boss only to suffer retaliation. This leaves one two choices: fight or leave. Most faculty chose to leave under these circumstances but most other employees don't generally have this option as UVa is the major employer in the area. UVa is already retaliating against this nurse and leaving itself wide open for a civil action. If you are involved, I would suggest that you CYA because the non-retaliation policy is certainly not being followed either to the letter or intent of the law, policy and other assurance(s). It might be time to call in the feds again!

Getagrip: Here is your spell check version: I have known both Ms. Heister and Dr. Chhabra for some time. Ms. Heister has helped Dr. Chhabra and the other members of the Hand Center team develop a very patient focused and successful outpatient facility. And I have watched Ms. Heister be playful, joking and teasing with Dr. Chhabra in the past too. Dr. Chhabra is a very devoted and caring physician who wants to make a very busy and stressful clinic an enjoyable work environment for its employees. I wasn't present when this unfortunate event occurred. However, I can say that that I can not believe that any of Dr. Chhabra's actions that day in the clinic were intended to be anything more than a playful interaction. All that I can add to these posted comments is my belief that this entire matter has gotten out of control. It can only be hurtful to both individuals and their families along with their friends and associates. I only hope that further negative comments about either person involved will stop. Please let the legal process deal with this matter and stop additional negative and hurtful comments!

This isn't a hilarious situation.

Eagle Eye: No organization is perfect.

Do you think this is the first time a surgeon has abused thier staff at uva.OMG wake up people uva breeds this type of doctor and are proud of it.They just ran in to someone with the balls to stand up for herself.

Mike Boblitz: And neither are people, but that should not be an excuse for abuse.

Virginia is a one party state. As long as one party in a conversation knows it is being recorded, it is legal and can be used in a court of law. Eagle Eye, can you point me in the direction to determine this has changed recently?

Nevermind. I found it..... one party to a conversation still applies in Virginia.

http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/virginia-recording-law

Virginia's wiretapping law is a "one-party consent" law. Virginia makes it a crime to intercept or record any "wire, oral, or electronic communication" unless one party to the conversation consents. Virginia Code § 19.2-62. Therefore, if you operate in Virginia, you may record a conversation or phone call if you are a party to the conversation.... or you get permission from one party to the conversation in advance. That said, if you intend to record conversations involving people located in more than one state, you should play it safe and get the consent of all parties.

Frank Speaker Mike Boblitz are absolutely right. If this interaction was viewed in the daily context of their normal relationship it would not seem all that out of the ordinary. Maybe it went a little further than normal...but not much. It is just now that one person decided to change to rules and call the police when it suited them.

Eagle Eye obviously has a chip on his/her shoulder and has had problems with authority and always views themselves as the victim. She has latched onto Nancy and maybe even pushed her into this since "she has experienced something similar". Everyone in a leadership position is out to get everyone below them. All of Eagle Eye's comments point towards the fact that the person in charge is bad and that the poor people in lower positions are always right...no matter what they say or do. And to compare this to a rape victim is ludicrous and is almost as disgusting as the previous Hitler comment. You obviously have an agenda to defame Dr. Chhabra and taint the public opinion so that no matter what happens with the legal process, Dr. Chhabra will be hurt. That is why he or she is on this board. If you really cared about the process you would just keep quiet and let the process run its course. Instead you make post...after post...after post.

And to say that Nancy didn't want him to be arrested? Are you kidding me? What did she think would happen when she went to the police to press assault charges?

And soonerorlater..."uva breeds this type of doctor and are proud of it". That is totally inappropriate and way out of line. You are stereotyping an entire institution with hundreds of outstanding caring physicians who give their time and energy to help people. Some of these people probably work more in a week then you work in 3-4 weeks. All while taking care of others. Do you understand that? These people are there to help others??? And you are trying to bash them? Are there bad/rude/abusive doctors at UVa...sure...just as there are bad/abusive/rude nurses, techs, secretaries etc. Don't put your issues on everyone around you.

And do you think this is different than at any other institution, whether it is a medical center or a major corporation. There is no reason to try and tarnish UVa. Is it the ideal place to work with no problems...no. Are there certain leadership issues...yes. Are there bad and abusive doctors....probably...but fortunately Dr.Chhabra is not one of them and this will eventually come out.

Well said Friend!

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Amen Friend!

Reality Check.... you were not there either...so you should also keep your mouth shut. You are rude, inappropriate and completely out of line.

Speaking of unprofessional..."U need to stay in ur office ordering computers for people or ur comments mite just bite u on the bum".

Reality Check: I guess my support of "keeping quiet and letting the legal process run its course" hit a nerve.

Friend--Your assesment of the situation and the comments made here are spot on . You have thrown out the chaff and kept the wheat .

Sorry, this comment from "Eagle Eye" was accidentally deleted. Here we have re-posted it:

"Thank you "BeTheHero" for personally verifying what happened to Nancy and independently looking at the evidence presented to the commonwealth attorneys and magistrate before they issued the arrest warrant. If the chair of orthopedics, who submitted the third comment on this article above, had done his job by responding to Nancy's complaint instead of doing nothing for several days, this case would have never gone to criminal court, (As part of the administration dealing with this complaint, it was totally inappropriate for him to make this public comment indicating his bias. He should at least have had the common sense to do so under another user name.) It is obvious that due to the lack of action by UVa within a reasonable time, Nancy was left with no alternative in order to defend herself. Does anyone think that she wanted to do this knowing full well what the fallout would be on her? She went so far as to request that the police not arrest him at UVa in order to spare him public embarrassment. He will have his day in court to tell his side of the story and explain his audio messages and emails about the assault. All The Hook did was report what is in the public record, so don't blame The Hook. This story is totally appropriate as local news. Does anyone doubt that if any other high-ranking official at UVa had been accused of committing the same offense or similar offense that it would not be in the news? If I had done this in my supervisory role at UVa, I certainly would have expected it to at least appear in the newspapers, police blotter and on-line in the Albemarle County arrest records. Dr. Chhabra's arrest was no where to be found, although it might be now. Was someone and/or UVa using his/her/its influence to keep this off-the-record and out of the news? I would not doubt it? Thanks to The Hook for bringing this and other controversial and important stories into the light."

I have worked with Dr. Chhabrah, along with many other surgeons and the one thing that stood out about him is how he gentle and kind of an individual he is. He truly does care about all of his patients and everybody with whom he works. I don't believe one word of what that patient coordinator said. Additionally, Dr. Chabrrah is a very intelligent man, and would never perform such a bizzare act.

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Friend: Please re-read my post above that starts with "Thank you..." You have misinterpreted what I wrote.

First, Nancy I did not state that Nancy did not want him arrested. What I wrote is that she asked the police not to arrest Dr. Chhabra at UVa, but rather at his home, to spare him embarrassment in front of staff and patients. I believe that this request is even documented in the arrest warrant.

Second, my comparison to how spousal abuse and rapes used to be handled was in response to Bannerman's comment of: " ' I am not sure that "BeThe Hero" was there in the hallway to witness any of this, so his/her information is undoubtedly lopsided based solely on unofficial "testimony" provided to him/her by the "victim." Had they been there, in person, to witness this alleged "assault," I feel certain their bantering wouldn't be so biased.' " with specific reference to the clause "based soley on the unofficial 'testimony' provided to him/her by the 'victim.' " It is an accurate comparison in that administrators apparently considered this a case of "she-said, he-said." I imagine that the county attorneys and magistrate might have also unless she had provided substantiating evidence such as the messages and email from the doctor.

Third, I have no intentions of defaming Dr. Chhabra who is an excellent hand surgeon. My intension is to support Nancy and set the commentary record straight.

Fourth, I don't have a chip on my shoulder or a problem with authority. In fact, I think that the person in charge of me now (the President/Commander-in-Chief) is doing an excellent job and in no way out to get me! I certainly can't say that about my previous boss at UVa.

Dr. Sullivan, are you reading this? If so, you will want to inquire about incidences with TCV and Neurosurgery docs.

Eagle Eye...

Sorrry for the misinterpretation as mentioned above. However...I stand by the rest of my post.

If you really knew Nancy and Dr. Chhabra...and their relationship, you would know this is not that far out from the normal bantering/bickering that goes on between them. And yes...I know and have worked with both of them. I do not believe that you are here to just "support Nancy". You are here to try and sway public opinion...period. If you were here to support her, you would do that "I am a friend if Nancy's and she has always been... And them leave it at that". You get the idea. But instead you go on and on about how big bad doctor is abusive and uses his power to pick on poor little nurse Nancy. You story is completely one sided and is as biased, if not more biases than any one else who has posted here. You seem to have, or at least claim to have, direct contact with Nancy and the information she has provided the police. How is that just trying to set the record straight? You are trying to leak information prior to a legal process inorder to prejudice public opinion. You were not there either. You are trying to set the record so that public opinion views nurse Nancy as a victim of the Big Wig Uva physician researcher who brings in millions to the university regardless of what actually happened. Especially since you have had similar situations at uva...how is that not biased? Regardless of what happened you want to "make sure this doesn't happen again like it happened to me". Regardless of what really hallened or what was said. You did not have this interaction with Dr. Chhabra, you were not there and you have no idea what really happened. If you truly cared about justice running it's course, you would keep quiet and the process run it's course. But again...you make post after post.

And the rape comment in this circumstance, regardless of the reasoning behind why it is used, is still totally inappropriate. Just as the Hitler comment was inappropriate regardless of the context it was used. The word rape just exacerbates the situation and draws people to make inaccurate associations between this alleged "assault" and rape.

Sorry about the half post above...not sure how that got submitted...if that could be semester that would be great as it is redundant.

IF "Bobby" did grab, spin and push the nurse, what did she DO FIRST to him to elicit such a response? While we are all supposing...seems she must have crossed a line. Seems like a defensive move to me. I'm just sayin...

Ok, Friend: I retract the reference to rape, but stand by how spousal abuse cases were viewed in the past as "she-said, he-said" due to the usual lack of witnesses and sometimes no physical injuries directly attributable to the assailant.

Maison: As for President Sullivan, after what happened at the VQR, she should be reviewing all of these cases especially with her background in sociology, and also inquiring as to why the chair of orthopedics did not take this complaint seriously calling it "bizarre." What happened in neurosurgery?

Friend, obviously you have explained that u r only a friend to Dr. Chhabra, I have been a friend to Dr. Chhabra for 14 years. I have been a friend to Nurse Nancy for 6 years. I chose to stand by Nancy when I heard that a larger & stronger M.D. put his hands on a female. This is unacceptable behavior no matter what the reason that Dr. Chhabra reacted in this bullying over the top manner...

Reality Check... 14 years? Earlier you said 12 years. It is easy to back track on all of you comments as most of them have already been deleted for being inappropriate. You have shown your bias against Dr. Chhabra and it is obvious that was present WAY before this incident with Nancy occurred. You didn't just choose sides based upon this incident. Don't lie. You obviously were not a friend to Dr. Chhabra after your comments about his god like over inflated ego etc. Unfortunately it looks like those comments have been deleted. Luckily you are not going to court...I think you are the only one that would be found guilty. You are not doing Nancy any good by spreading lies.

I have known both for several years, but would consider myself more of a friend to Dr. Chhabra. I have never had a problem with Nancy. She seemed like she did a good job and took pride in her work. To me she seemed that she could sometimes she could be a little abrasive...but sometimes when you are in a position where you need to make things happen and keep a clinic running, that is how you have to be. Overall I have had no problem with her but I would call her an acquaintance as opposed to a friend. Now I have told the truth Reality Check...why don't you start telling the truth. Or...as I have stated before, just keep quiet and let the progress run its course.

FRIEND
If u can recall, I have worked directly with Dr Chhabra for 7 years & indirectly for the hand ctr for 4 1/2 yrs. Just because I left UVA doesn't mean I didn't call myself a friend to Bobby,! So, add 2 1/2 & 7 1/2 & 4 1/2 & u get 14 plus... I am not lying or backtracking.....

Obviously u have not suffered unprovoked physical abuse at the hands of a man. If u had, then you might, just might, understand that when assault & battery occurs, I can & will no longer consider our friendship valid. Please consider the legal aspects of this situation..

Not to mention the emotional effects of what happened to Nancy, & the valid fear of no longer having a job at UVA for speaking to supervisor & HR attempting a solution....

Your earlier post, which was deleted said 12. So which is it? Plus you made numerous coments that were very slanderous which makes me question your "friendship". I stand by my previous post.

No...I have never been "abused by another man". But as I said before, dont put your issues onto others. Just because you may have been in a bad situation before does not mean this is the same. You are jumping to baseless conclusions because of your prejudice against Dr. Chhabra.

I was a patient of Dr. Chhabra's for the better part of a year and I believe him to be a man of dignity and compassion, plus he is literally an artist in his field of surgery. Something here stinks, imo. My heart goes out to him and to his family.

Update:

The hearing in Albemarle General District Court has been rescheduled for June 7 at 9am. Chhabra will be represented by defense attorney Rhonda Quagliana, currently representing murder suspect George Huguely with her partner Francis McQ. Lawrence. Quagliana, known for taking high-profile cases, also represented William N. Beebe in the so called UVA 12-step rape case.

All I can say is I am curious to know what truly Happened. I have worked with both parties for almost 8 years now. My normal stance would be to give the victim the benefit of the doubt, as I can not imagine how horrible it would feel to be victimized and have no one believe you. However in this case I am finding that very hard to do. I have never seen Dr. Chharba act in such a manner. Yet I have been verbally assaulted, in person and over the phone, multiple times by Nancy. I have had to bring Dr. Chhabra and her supervisor in on more than one occasion to get her to back off. I am not saying I know 100% that Dr. Chhabra is innocent, as everyone has their breaking point. I am also not saying that I am sure Nancy is lying. What I am trying to say is that this is a very murky situation where my personal experience is just confusing me even further. I hope that this is all straightened out with the least amount of deformation and pain to BOTH parties.

Mr. McNair
Your "Update" was clearly designed to equate Dr. Chhabra with murderers and rapists.
Shame on you!

J.E.,

Huh?

Huh ? Use of the subliminal is very awkardly done to put the Dr in the same company and hence guilt by association as those described above (murderers and rapists).How vicious ! Given the strange criteria for deleting posts it is difficult to understand why that post has been made or let to stand undeleted .I have made a few posts about the situation to give balance by opining in the MO of the complainant .They were all polite and subjective but removed do to someone's prejudice or agenda . Those thoughts in the removed posts are proving to be well founded the more we hear from close associates .

All the update iimplies to me is the fact that Quagliana is known for taking high-profile cases.

It in no way implies there is a connection between murderers, rapists and Dr. Chhabra.

Gasbag Sir ---Did you not notice the words "murder" and "rape" tucked into that short paragraph along with Chhabra who was stripped from the normal reference of Dr . Another common tactic i believe which is used to slay the "high and mighty abusers" .Why not just announce that Dr Chhabra has engaged so and so to represent him instead of the propaganda ??

unfortunately, in VA all anyone has to do (usually female) is go to the magistrate, file a complaint against you (assault, stalking, etc) with no evidence, whether it's true or not & yu will be arrested. I know several lying females that have done this to people. I'm not saying the "victim" here did this. I'm just saying it's really easy to do here in the Commonwealth of VA.

Does anyone here notice that the same commenters keep trying to pick apart other's comments? I know that many of the comments here were made by UVA staff loyal to the Dr. . But this is why you people don't understand the legal system. Anyone thing is that some of us really do have the inside scoop on this matter, and cannot say certain things that pertain to an active criminal case. The user .02 is certainly some troll who has found his professional life at UVA too boring to go on with, so he/she resorts to being an active supporter of criminal assault which can never go unanswered in a place such as UVA. This is the same type of argument that is always presented when a rich, or affluent individual in society is accused of wrongdoing. Now, does anyone in this forum really believe that a judge (because everyone that says it's so easy to get a warrant for the arrest of a doctor as "important" as Chhrabra) would risk the time and money for an obviously fruitless venture? I think not. The police have said that the complaints department at UVA for assault is very slow and usually pressures plantiff's into settling out of court. Stupid doctors and the profs. and the other's who work at UVA and wasting time here trying to win an impossible argument should back off, and go do their real/appointed jobs!!!
Plus I know who has commented here and I'm sorry to say that most of the comments are coming from Dr.Chhrabra's offices and departments.
WTF UVA?
This would not be an issue if the tables were turned and nobody ever wants to stand up for the little guy.
Also WTF is this BS that UVA has appointed to the doctor the same DA who is covering the George Hugley case? Also the same DA has covered the cases of serial rapists.
I guess UVA likes to keep spinning the Wheel of BS unless its about themselves. I think that it is about time that this man gets penalized criminally, because according to UVA, "...abuse and assaults are not to be tolerated..."
EVERYONE THAT AGREES SHOULD PUT THIS MESSAGE AT THE END OF THEIR COMMENT:

I LOVE THE HOOK!!!

HeWhoKnowWillSucceed: If the University of Virginia were a party to this suit, UVA's Office of the General Counsel (from the Attorney General’s office) would be representing Dr. Chhabra.

And again, I think you need to stop further negative comments about either person involved. Please let the legal process deal with this matter and stop additional negative and hurtful comments!

HeWhoKnowWillSucceed: You sound very credible. Your calm and logical reasoning is reassuring. It makes us want to listen to you and believe your every word.

Hope you get the sarcasm....

Why is it okay for someone who is a friend of Nancy (you) to post a message (albeit derogatory hate filled messages) and it is not okay for someone who is a friend of Dr. Chhabra (me and the "others in his office/department") to post a message?

Many of us are just asking that all of the speculation and bashing stop and allow the legal process run its course. Instead you leave expletive laced posts bashing and defaming Dr. Chhabra and UVa. All without merit. Again, hopefully everyone cans see that the purpose of these posts is to destroy Dr. Chhabra's reputation regardless of what happens with the legal process.

I find it interesting that so many people dismiss what the woman says. So what if you know what he is like in public. People can be perfect in public, but heaven forbid if you are alone with them. Controlling and abusive people put on a fantastic show, but in private they can be horrifying. I for one, believe the nurse.

The Hook has a long history of sliming people with oversized mugshots and interviewing their worst enemies and then the accused are aquitted. They might print the aquittal, and reprint the mug shot and the false allegations.
But the slime stays on the net with the giant photo and they never get their good name back. They are truly vultures. They even continue their damage of innocent people after they are dead. No shame

Does anyone ever "win" in these cases, really?

It's my sincere wish that Ms. Heister's issue is resolved fairly, and that Dr. Chhabra continues to practice medicine here in C'ville.

this is the tip of the so-called iceberg

dealing with surgeons can be a nightmare
as I have been there and done that..
maybe thet hate their mother a pyschologial concept why people become surgeons!?!

Dr."C" who I have worked with when he was a orthopod resident
was beyond reproach ..
as they say there are always three sides of a story
Dr."C" and
"Nurse Nancy"
and the "Truth"

so let the court make the decision
and NOT the court of the common people..

so it is

You say let the court make the decision and not the court of common people...but you then make comments such as him being "beyond reproach" and that dealing with surgeons can be a nightmare? Maybe some surgeons can be a nightmare to deal with but I am sure that many surgeons think there are nurses that are a nightmare to deal with. Both are probably right...but what does this have to do with this situation? You are stereotyping a profession in an unjustified manner regardless of your "46 years of nursing experience".

Follow your own recommendation and let the court make the decision and please stop making negative comments..

This is ridiculous! You all sound like a bunch of children! The only people who should be this emotionally involved are the two parties and their families. Does any of this really affect you??

Who Cares --Welcome to the sandbox ,i see you brought your own mud pies to throw .

It behooves the Hook to publish the outcome of the hearing on April 18th or is the Hook enjoying the soap opera on their website?

Two Bits,

As the update on the story notes, the hearing has been moved to June 7.

Delay! Delay! Delay!
The longer, the better for UVA!

Isn't this what happens with all UVA-related trials?

Seen It Before -- Your point certainly has credability in this story in view of strange criteria for deleting certain points of veiw that do not conform to the "Nancy Spin" .

Thank you for the clarification Dave.

As an former MD at UVA I can corroborate that a lot of harassment goes on and it is a hostile work environment particularly in the OR's. Furthermore, the administration and powers that be have no interest in making it any better and pretty much ignore your complaints and enable the dispicable behavior to continue. I know of several other physicians that have left because of the hostile work environment, so please do not be misled into believing that only nurses and support staff are the victims of the harassment, their are many physicians that are as well.

That being said, I am surprised at Bobby's behavior. He is one of the nicer physicians there, in my opinion. There are a multitude of other physicians there that are huge assholes. Too bad this didn't happen to one of them.

Over the last 15 to 20 years, I think it's quite unusual if a workplace doesn't involve great deals of harrassment and a hostile environment. I am so glad to have gotten out of it and went to work for a family business 15 years ago. I had reached a breaking point in my life and was close to doing something stupid. The problem wasn't the customers/defendants, the problem was the administration and supervisors.

Comment,
"Guilty or not guilty it is unreasonable to think that even the most well mannered, easy-going, polite and caring person couldn't loose their temper from time to time."

I guess you also think it was "perfectly normal" for George Huguely, V to lose his temper too. That was a really a dumb comment to make with all the violence against women that UGA already has the reputation for.

That's quite a stretch Kelly. Wrong uni by the way. The subject has to do with the local one.

Quite a streach indeed ! Just another example of the prejudice the Dr is facing . This case and Huguely are light years apart . Here after the complainant bumped into the ladder she says her glasses fell from the top of her head .She calmly and deliberately bent down ,picked them up , replaced them on her head and continued along the hallway . Anyone who felt threatened in a physical sense would not put themselves into this vulnerable position of bending down to pick the glasses up . To pick up the glasses you have to take your eyes off the alleged assaliant and put yourself into a completely vulnerable bent over position .That is totally opposite of a defensive mode that one would assume on being threatened or assaulted . This person by their actions displays complete trust in the other party for their personal safety immediately after the point she claims to be assaulted . It is very hard to buy her story.

He may be a great surgeon but a terrible politician.. why would anyone hire the same lawyer as Hugely? I mean I know Johhnie cocran died and all, but he could at least found somebody a little less tainted... even Jackie childs from seinfeld would have been better...

This whole thing seems to me like there two people at UVA who should have been sat down and explained the rules about how to solve problems without stooping to verbal or physical abuse.

Seems like UVAs lack of disipline within its ranks are showing... between Hugely, this and VQRs fiasco, maybe they should stick to teachers and classrooms..

"She calmly and deliberately bent down ,picked them up , replaced them on her head and continued along the hallway "

And if she had not be calm. What might have happened then? Might he have gotten even more agitated and done something much worse? What sets the two cases apart? We don't know. Yeardley Love may have gotten very angry and made her attacker more angry. It is a possibity that the actions of the victim changes the outcome. I think the nurse using a cool head speaks volumns.

"It is very hard to buy her story"

Not to me!

Rubic cubing what you think happened in a sensational murder case to get your desired result in this case is a flawed process . Hopefully the person(s) making any decisions in this situation will be more fair .A non inflamitory ,non prejudiced approach should arrive at the correct conclusion . It is evident many are generously interjecting predertermined personal bias one way or another concerning Drs,Nurses,establishment,University,gender,etc.etc. This incident of what allegedly happened in that hallway on that day is all this concerns .Why did this person bump into a ladder as they say they did , that is all .The person's glasses fell to the floor as reported they picked the glasses up and continued on walking along the hallway . This not about rape, murder,gender agenda,power agenda etc.etc.

"This not about rape, murder,gender agenda,power agenda etc.etc"

What this is about is the underbelly of a giant orgianization where people are allowed to have temper tantrums (both sides appaerantly) and then when when one of them decised a line is craossed they call in the law to referee.

Seems to me from all the comments on here that this should have been solved long ago by proper managment of personell. If someone cannot be reached by proper conversatinal levels they need to be FIRED. If someone cannot reach someone without hollering THEY need to be fired.

This is a reflection on UVA and its practices. The stories never end and these are only the ones we hear about.

No wonder their tuition has to go up, they need the money for spin control.

Lots of spin there . Time to ratchet down the hysterics . Another person was all for calling in the Feds LOL . It is just about two people meeting in a hallway where a ladder was erected .The width of the hallway ,space taken by the ladder,space taken by the two persons meeting and one person claiming to have bumped into the ladder . Glasses fell off the head ,they picked them up and continued on their way . Sounds like a familiar occurance in crowded,restricted areas such as busses,subways,sidewalks,elevators,kitchens,restricted hallways etc. There is also superimposed here a reported history of one abrasively taunting and teasing the other .

Must have been a disgruntled employee.....ya think?

...perhaps... however sometimes a disgrunteld employee is disgruntled FOR CAUSE.

I don't think anyone should open the can of worms in this town about UVA doctors.. I am sure their are a lot of ex wives and spurned ex mistressess (that caused the ex wives) that might just come out of the woodwork.

Dave McNair, what's up with your comment calling the complainant by her first name and including "facts" and suppositions not included in your article? Are you a journalist or a blogger?

whathappenedtojournalism,

I made no such comment. Are you referring to the post where I inserted a comment from someone else that had been accidently deleted?

I work with Dr. Chhabra and I can say I have
never seen anything but compassion and
devotion from this man. I find it hard to believe
that he would ever try to harm anyone. I think
this nurse needs a pysch consult or a drug
test!!!

deleted by moderator

If this was assault nurse Heister would have landed on her Keister .

On the issue of whether this story was truly newsworthy, the record now speaks for itself. The Hook remains the only news outlet to cover this story. This means that every other editor and news outlet in the area has reached the conclusion that it was not newsworthy. Therefore, The Hook evidently has different journalistic standards that every other news outlet in the area.

Personally, I have tried in the past to defend The Hook against charges of sensationalism. But, it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so. Shame on The Hook for dragging these people's dispute into the limelight merely for the sake of drawing attention to its publication. There are consequences for The Hook's decision. People have suffered. Families, too. To what end? Attention for The Hook.

Not necessarily so! It could be that UVa is exercising it usually sphere of influence on the local media, not to mention the local police blotters that for some reason missed Dr. Chhabra's arrest. Recall that The Hook did the most extensive and best local reporting on the VQR bullying suicide, the Huguely-Love lacrosse death case, the Morgan Harrington kidnapping/murder case and other University cases that the other local (and national) subsequently picked up on. In the current case, it is a wonder why the other media have failed to follow suit? After all, the attorneys general and the court found sufficient justification to arrest a prominent local physician. Why is he being treated by the local news media any different than a police officer, teacher, coach, politician or preacher who is arrested by the police? It is "news" after all! Do you think that only The Hook will cover the trial in June? I'll bet the Washington Post is there even if The Daily Progress is not.

Dr. Chhabra jabbed a needle into my hand once! It really hurt. He inflicts pain for a living, although in fairness the problem went away about a week or so later.

What? This is absurd. That woman needs to be charged with ridiculous accusations. He is a great doctor, a great human being, and a true gentleman. Shame on The Hook for dignifying her accusation.

The good Dr. has given Nancy a helping hand up the ladder of success as a nurse and this is his thanks !!

It sounds like Boing is a teenager who got injected by the doc with some local anesthetic (which actually does sting initially). However, his/her comment is absurd and totally out-of-order. Regardless of what happened with the nurse, Dr. Chhabra is not in the business of inflicting pain for a living. Boing, you need to apologize, retract your comment and learn a little more about health professionals and their dedication to caring for people.

deleted by moderator

deleted by moderator. not because of anything objectionable 'Bald Eagle' said, but because it drew specific attention to comments made directly above, which were objectionable.

What gives her story indicia of reliability is the FACT that it's a strange story...not the kind of thing you'd make up. All of the people that vouch for the quality of his care and the fact that he's "honorable" make completely irrelevant statements. None of those render the good Doctor UNABLE to commit an assault. The fact that the assault is de minimis and strange in no way means he should not be prosecuted, it just means perhaps he shouldn't get an active sentence if it is proven. Her delay in swearing out the warrant could be explained by having tried to work through UVA to handle it administratively first. Not saying she did try this, but if she did, I can imagine they were probably NO help, which may have turned her thoughts to the crminal justice system. The Hook owes no apology to the Doctor whatsoever, as one of the commentors on here stated. The Hook has not said the doctor actually did this, just that he has been accused. That's a fact. When journalists have to start apologizing for stating facts, journalism has really gone in the trash. And getting warrants isn't as easy as GBSOE makes it sound. Try being poor-looking and swearing out a cross-warrant after one has already been sworn out against you! Magistrates often notoriously unfairly close the doors of access to the criminal justice system, while other magistrates will sign off on anything. The fact of a magistrate's signature on a warrant really does not add or remove any credibility from the accusation itself.

honorable counts and latin legalese doesn't lend credibility, imo

I second the comments made by "News?" Questioning the Hook's ethics was exactly my comment when this article first came out. It was an underhanded headline grabber. I still say the Hook owes Dr. Chhabra an apology. This kind of journalism is called Yellow Journalism. Wiki says: "Yellow Journalism is a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers. Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism. By extension "Yellow Journalism" is used today as a pejorative to decry any journalism that treats news in an unprofessional or unethical fashion." The Hook has been increasingly showing signs of arrogance, and I am not the only one with this opinion. Too bad for our community.

UVA has implemented "Appreciative Inquiry" as a way to mitigate the hostile atmosphere in the hospital. Is it working?

this whole thing is just a cover up all the hostility that surgeons
that happens in the operating rooms and other places
nurses are Not hand maiden to a physicians nor a colleague as this concept[colleague means one is in the same profession] there is a medical model and nursing practice model of clinical care of a patient/client as stated my the Nursing profession
so it is

I beg to differ. It is about 2 people in a hallway that have differing points of view of what happened. It is not about the evil UVA. It is not about nurses verses doctors. It is not about employer verses employee. It is not about men verses women. It is about 2 specific people at a specific time in a specific place!

I am in awe of the length of the thread here. None of you were there, you can't say for sure what happened, so referring to either one as a liar or guilty party is silly. You don't know the answer despite feeling like an expert, because you "really know them." Sorry, people do wierd things sometimes that are out of character and can't explained, so don't assume you know anything here.

He said-she said unless there were some witnesses. He'll walk. Wonder if UVA has put him on paid leave until this goes to trial LIKE THEY DO WITH CLASSIFIED STAFF.

Doubt it.

I find it very disturbing that the first 10 posts and some of the later posts (with real names) were made from the same IP addresses. Is it because the real perpetrators of the flaming came from the same person? Also a little update I just learned from a source close to the case. When the nurse was pushed into the ladder, there were two workmen who were working on top of it that were almost knocked off of it when Dr.C acted out. And for the posters that flamed me for "expletive laced messages" I ask you to reread my posts. To my account my only "expletive" was "BS" which could mean a lot of things. Like for instance: ballerina slippers, boris samuelson, bloated sarcasm, belingering speculation, etc.

how do you read the IP addresses? are't you asking us to believe your own agenda too?

There is no way to read IP addresses unless you work for the Hook.

As a 20+ year employee of UVA, and having worked in various sectors of the organization, I can testify that there is an ongoing history of bullying by supervisors and mid-to-top-level management at UVA, w/a standard practice of top-down, hush-hush, threatening treatment dished out to most 'lower-level' employees who attempt to bring viable concerns to the table through the 'proper channels' (departmental administrators, HR, or State Grievance proceedings). I too have witnessed two of UVA's 'super-star'' surgeons physically jerking around members of the housekeeping staff and an administrative assistant, and verbally abusing lower-level staff while at the same time being treated as ‘gods’ by their patients and colleagues. Top-level administrators do not wish to be bothered with departmental drama; mid-level managers are told 'keep your people in their places'; and staff members are told to ‘like it or leave it', when they are also told by the same management not to bother applying for other jobs within the University because they will be sure to block any such transfer, i.e., "You will never be allowed to leave this job.” It really is a crying shame, but it happens every day, and is carried out by individuals who take great pride in seeing how close they can come to driving someone right over the edge. This problem is not specific to the medical center, and is quite prevalent in Procurement & Fac. Mgmt. To the Hook, keep digging until you get to the root of the problem. There are many hard-working men and women who take pride in working at UVA and in supporting their families, but are subjected to bulling on a daily basis. Very sad situation, but it happens every day!

Sorry, the word is 'bullying'.

185 comments of rumor and innuendo and borderline defamation. always intriguing when the "experts" come out on the hook pages.

Enough.
May there come a day when Mr. McNair and Mr. Spencer's lives are publicly judged for weeks on end by those who don't know them and/or have an ax to grind against them and are allowed to continue doing it anonymously, repeatedly and with no worry of committing libel.

The Hook seems to specialize in local topical issues . That is difficult in an area where players are familiar . Much easier to talk in generalities and feel good local stories but when everyone is doing the same stories then no one is doing any stories . Lots of shoot the messanger happening here .

Thank you for the wise critique. Me & my neighbour were preparing to do some research about that. We received a great book on that matter from our local library and most books where not as influensive as your information and facts. Im really glad to see this kind of facts which I was searching for a long time.

UVA is held back from achieving any greatness or competitive edge by its hierarchical structure and entitlements. There are no effective avenues for grievances and no safe forums to discuss individual and institutional issues. A complaint to a supervisor is not treated confidentially; the person is often labelled. There is no honor code at UVA. It can be argued that attention to truth in writing is even more important than in verbal speech – the act of writing takes a more deliberate effort. Memos at UVA are written with flagrant misrepresetation of factual information. Those who write them, especially those in the highest levels of administration, have no fear of repercussion. It’s a matter of doing business where finances matter more than the purported missions of the organization itself. Employees including physicians are forced to shut up when the matter includes money. Chabbra vs Heister may certainly be a matter of he said she said. The reality though is that it is very unlikely that any witnesses will come forward (or their job will be at risk) or that any fault is found with the former. If it occurred the other way around, the latter would have been transferred or fired. One knows of other recent assaults that have been reported within the institutional channels (one a neurosurgeon assaulting another physician) but which are allowed to diminish in importance through passage of time.

UVA is held back from achieving any greatness or competitive edge by its hierarchical structure and entitlements. There are no effective avenues for grievances and no safe forums to discuss individual and institutional issues. A complaint to a supervisor is not treated confidentially; the person is often labelled. There is no honor code at UVA. It can be argued that attention to truth in writing is even more important than in verbal speech – the act of writing takes a more deliberate effort. Memos at UVA are written with flagrant misrepresetation of factual information. Those who write them, especially those in the highest levels of administration, have no fear of repercussion. It’s a matter of doing business where finances matter more than the purported missions of the organization itself. Employees including physicians are forced to shut up when the matter includes money. Chabbra vs Heister may certainly be a matter of he said she said. The reality though is that it is very unlikely that any witnesses will come forward (or their job will be at risk) or that any fault is found with the former. If it occurred the other way around, the latter would have been transferred or fired. One knows of other recent assaults that have been reported within the institutional channels (one a neurosurgeon assaulting another physician) but which are allowed to diminish in importance through passage of time.

UVA is held back from achieving any greatness or competitive edge by its hierarchical structure and entitlements. There are no effective avenues for grievances and no safe forums to discuss individual and institutional issues. A complaint to a supervisor is not treated confidentially; the person is often labelled. There is no honor code at UVA. It can be argued that attention to truth in writing is even more important than in verbal speech – the act of writing takes a more deliberate effort. Memos at UVA are written with flagrant misrepresetation of factual information. Those who write them, especially those in the highest levels of administration, have no fear of repercussion. It’s a matter of doing business where finances matter more than the purported missions of the organization itself. Employees including physicians are forced to shut up when the matter includes money. Chabbra vs Heister may certainly be a matter of he said she said. The reality though is that it is very unlikely that any witnesses will come forward (or their job will be at risk) or that any fault is found with the former. If it occurred the other way around, the latter would have been transferred or fired. One knows of other recent assaults that have been reported within the institutional channels (one a neurosurgeon assaulting another physician) but which are allowed to diminish in importance through passage of time.

UPDATE May 31

Hearing has been rescheduled again to June 22 at 1pm

@ soonerorlater, if this woman had the balls to stand up for herself, she would not be filing a complaint, she would confront the doctor. Sounds to me like a case of "put on your big girl panties, and deal with it".

I saw someone exchanges three goats with public officials before the hearing.

Does anyone know the results of today's trial?

I don't know anything about what is said to have transpired in this incident, although I think Dr.Chhabra's wife is a lovely dear person.
However, I can speak to the ever increasing UVA Hospital hostile work environment. This is why we don't go there, anymore. I found several of the staff to be unnecessarily and inappropriately hostile and rude. Richmond is just not that far.

Big surprise huh?

Albemarle County assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, were present in the EMPTY courtroom
I wonder how much that cost? Empty that is...