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Dr. Stephen Thorn, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Mercy Medical Center—North Iowa, reflects on his career in his office on Friday.

MASON CITY | The medical malpractice lawsuit filed against Dr. Stephen Thorn, a retired Mercy OB-GYN physician, has been dropped.

The lawsuit, filed by Terra Gaffney, of Rockwell, in July, was dismissed without prejudice on Jan. 30 in Cerro Gordo County District Court, which means she can file another suit on the same grounds in the future.

Retired Mason City OB-GYN doctor sued for medical malpractice, touching patient without her consent

In her lawsuit, Gaffney stated Thorn "committed an unconsented and not medically indicated physical touching" of her during a prenatal visit on Oct. 4, 2017.

She also alleged Thorn, along with other unidentified women, made "disparaging remarks about Terra Gaffney's mental health, past medical treatment, the paternity of her unborn fetus and health of Terra Gaffney's unborn fetus" when Thorn left a voicemail for Gaffney in October 2017.

Gaffney sought monetary compensation for emotional and physical injury, but the lawsuit didn’t specify an amount.

The lawsuit also listed Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa, now MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center, and its OB-GYN Clinic as defendants.

In August, Connie Alt, the attorney representing Thorn, Mercy and members of its OB-GYN Clinic, denied the allegations by Gaffney, according to court documents.

Alt alleged that Gaffney initiated the touching, and that it was her fault any contact between her and Thorn occurred.

Alt's response admitted Gaffney's phone "picked up the voice of Thorn and at least one nurse after Thorn believed the phone had been disconnected," but denied disparaging remarks were made, or that employees of the OB-GYN Clinic were given access to Gaffney's private medical information.

A trial was scheduled for January 2020, according to court documents.

Before retiring, Mason City's Thorn will deliver baby to mom, dad he delivered more than 20 years ago (with photos)

Molly Hamilton, a Storm Lake-based attorney representing Gaffney, declined to comment on the dismissal and whether the lawsuit was settled Friday morning.

Alt and Desiree Kilburg, the attorneys representing the defendants, didn’t respond to phone calls or emails for comment before press.

Thorn, who delivered more than 7,000 babies in his career, retired in May. He started working at Mercy in 2012 after more than 20 years in Albert Lea, Minnesota.

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Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.



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