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.