A Queens cop battling aggressive breast cancer claims the NYPD’s deputy chief surgeon “harassed” her — forcing her to return to work despite having a port implanted in her chest to accommodate chemotherapy, according to a lawsuit.
Nicole Seaman, 33, said the move to return her to full duty put her at risk of a medical emergency “and even death.”
Her medical history, including a host of health issues stemming from her 2018 diagnosis, allegedly didn’t matter to NYPD physician John Santucci, Seaman claimed in a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit against the city and the doctor.
“Why do I care if you have a port or not?” Santucci allegedly told her. “If you can’t work full duty, you are of no use to the NYPD.”
Seaman joined the force in 2014 and was just weeks into maternity leave after the birth of her first child in June 2018 when she got a devastating diagnosis: stage 2 “triple negative” breast cancer, “which has the grimmest chance of survival,” she said in the March 3 legal filing.
The disease has a 77% survival rate.
Seaman has endured 12 surgeries for the cancer and reconstruction of her breasts and was out of work until returning in 2020 on restricted duty while meeting monthly with NYPD doctors.
Santucci took over her case in 2021 and “would berate her” whenever they met, Seaman said in the lawsuit.
“You don’t know how powerful I am,” he would tell the officer, according to the lawsuit. “I could have you gone by the end of the day.”
Santucci ordered Seaman to go back on full duty in August, even though she still needs the port and cannot wear a bulletproof vest.
“The NYPD Medical Division would rather berate a police officer fighting for her life against the most aggressive form of breast cancer than accommodate her,” said her attorney, John Scola.
Seaman, who is the second cancer-stricken officer to sue Santucci for harassment, is seeking unspecified damages.
A Law Department spokesman said the city is reviewing the complaint.
The NYPD declined comment.
Santucci, who is represented by the Captain’s Endowment Association, declined comment but his union said cops who are out an extended period of time are referred to an independent medical board to determine if they’re fit for duty.
“Dr. Santucci followed all the rules and regulations,” said CEA head Chris Monahan.