WARNING: Graphic content:

A former Texas doctor who was convicted of raping a patient while she was heavily sedated while attached to an asthma machine will not go to prison.

Shafeeq Sheikh, 46, was instead sentenced by a jury to 10 years' probation and will have to register as a sex offender after he was found guilty of second-degree sexual assault, the Daily Mail reported.

The jury also recommended a suspension of a US$10,000 ($15,000) fine.


The judge, by law, had to follow the jury's recommendation.

The assault occurred at Ben Taub General Hospital in November 2013 where a woman, then 27 years old and named only as Laura, was tethered to machines and receiving treatment for asthma.

She told the Houston Chronicle back in 2015 that a doctor, later identified as Sheikh, entered her room in the middle of the night.

He claimed that he needed to examine her lungs but instead set about touching her chest and fondling her breasts.

"During the first two visits, the male physician entered the room and placed his mouth on her breast and inserted his fingers into her vagina. He also attempted to place his penis in her mouth," according to a 2015 lawsuit she filed.

He then returned again to her room and raped her without a condom while she was being treated overnight for shortness of breath and wheezing.

Despite pressing a button to call a nurse, she discovered the next morning that that the alarm had been disconnected, meaning there was no way for her to summon help.

At the time, Laura told the newspaper that she felt helpless during the ordeal.

"It's the feeling that you can't do anything. You can't do anything to save yourself," she said.

When Laura first reported the assault the morning after the attack, hospital staff didn't believe her.

A rape kit was performed on Laura and DNA extracted from it matched a swab taken from Sheikh.

Surveillance video and ID card logs were then reviewed, which showed the doctor accessed the woman's floor 12 times on the night of the attack even though she had not been assigned as his patient.

However, it took another two years for the doctor to be arrested and charged from when the sexual assault was first reported in 2013

Laura, now 32, told the court during the trial how the assault left her life unrecognizable and led to the end of her marriage.

Sheikh, a married father of four, originally from India, lost his position at the Baylor College of Medicine and saw his license revoked by the Texas Medical Board due to a "continuing threat to public welfare," according to the Houston Chronicle.

Sheikh's attorney attempted to question Laura's credibility during the trial by suggesting that she was alert and aware of her surroundings.

Dr. Shafeeq Sheikh awaits his sentencing at Harris County Family Law Center in Houston. Photo / AP
Dr. Shafeeq Sheikh awaits his sentencing at Harris County Family Law Center in Houston. Photo / AP

Defense attorneys said records showing lengthy text message conversations and phone calls while she was in the hospital were proof that she was more alert than she had claimed.

It was even noted that she had sexual contact with her husband the night she was admitted, which the defense said showed she was not totally incapacitated.

Sheikh's attorney suggested that while the doctor violated medical ethics, he was seduced by Laura in an effort to make her husband jealous.

The former doctor testified that, after first being intrigued about her breast implants, the woman placed his hand on her breasts as he conducted a chest exam and that she touched his genitals and took off her underwear.

In another bold statement, Sheikh suggested that Laura moved herself to the edge of the gurney, indicating she wanted to take things further.

"It immediately sunk in that something terrible had happened, and I was scared for myself," Sheikh testified. "You're not supposed to have sex with a patient. That's part of medical ethics."

Another reason the jury may have given such a lenient sentence was because his family and friend testified about the horrible impact a jail term would have on his four children.

"What he has done to himself and his family is punishment," his defense attorney told the court.

"They are serving his sentence with him. His children are serving his sentence with him."

Previously Laura filed a lawsuit because she believes Sheikh has other victims.

"The reason I think so is because this person has everything very organised," she told KHOU.

"He has no fear. He abuses his authority, uses his power ... and without thinking twice takes control over someone who is sick."

Sheikh was working at Ben Taub while he was a resident at the Baylor College of Medicine from June 2011 to June 2014.

Laura said she hopes her case will show people that rape "doesn't have a social status".

"I want to inspire and motivate these women," she said. "To find the courage to talk and speak up to get out of the pain they're in."