A doctor who trained US military medical staff has been accused of carrying out intimate sexual examinations on them as well as injecting them with the hallucinogenic drug ketamine.
The Virginia Board of Medicine yesterday permanently revoked the medical licence of John Hagmann, 59, after Army medical students testified that he had subjected them to dangerous experiments and sexual exploitation.
Hagmann is a retired lieutenant colonel. Before the hearing, he was described as a "diabolical mad scientist".
Identified by code names, the students said that in his courses on battlefield medicine Hagmann had included invasive physical examinations. The testimony was so shocking that board members sometimes placed their hands over their mouths. The scene of some of the alleged abuse is the Pengethley Manor hotel in the UK, near Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire.
One student, identified as Patient A, stated that Hagmann made the students insert catheters into one another's penises. After a student and Hagmann had trouble performing the procedure on Patient A, Hagmann pulled him aside and said he should examine him privately for possible problems. Patient A said Hagmann performed a genital and rectal exam unlike any he had previously experienced.
"It seemed like it was taking longer than it needed to," he said. "After the exam, he stated to me, 'Hey, I realize I kind of violated you here. Would you want to do a digital rectal exam on me?' I immediately told him no."
Hagmann, who is from Gig Harbour, Washington, was also accused of directing other trainees to participate in "ketamine labs" to study the effects of the hallucinogenic drug.
Hagmann is the president of Deployment Medicine International, which claims to be the biggest trainer for the US military in operational medicine. The board's permanent revocation of Hagmann's licence to practice medicine in Virginia follows a decision to temporarily suspend it in March. But the US military suspended its contracts with him only last week, when a video surfaced from one of his courses which showed a pig being shot. His company's federal contracting is believed to have earned revenues of more than $10m since 2008.
Before the start of the current hearings, Hank Johnson, a member of the House of Representatives armed services committee said that the episodes of alleged abuse were "like a diabolical mad scientist at work in a horror movie".
Hagmann has not attended the current hearings but has said that he has not broken any rules. "There were no 'physician-patient relationships' involved," he said. "Only students undergoing training. In 25 years no one has ever been harmed."