Physician Sexual Misconduct
Doctors take an oath when they earn their license to practice medicine. Chiefly among the list of pledges made in this most sacred of oaths is the promise to “do no harm.” However, in a country of approximately 900,000 medical professionals, there are bound to be immoral or even downright harmful monsters masquerading as benevolent professionals. If you have been inappropriately touched, harassed or even sexually assaulted by a doctor during a routine procedure, contact the experienced sexual assault attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP today.
As with any position of power, doctors hold an immensely delicate position as caregivers to their patients. They spend time with them one-on-one, responsible for guiding them through medical situations where trust plays an integral part of the relationship. In 99 percent of cases, doctors are doing what is best for their patients and the relationship is strictly professional.
However, in some horrible instances, doctors abuse their power over their patients for their own gain – and in many instances this manifests in a sexual nature.
In 2016, the Atlanta Journal Constitution published a shockingly effective expose on the subject of physician sexual misconduct, which revealed the shocking prevalence of the issue and the unfortunate reality where these physicians are either never held accountable for their actions or victims are too embarrassed or scared to come forward with their truths.
The report examined over 100,000 disciplinary documents from across the country since 1999 to search for cases involving sexual misconduct. It revealed victims ranging from infants, adolescents, senior citizens, drug addicts and inmates and even victims of childhood sexual abuse.
These activities ranged in severity and degree of sexuality, but included:
- Doctors fondling the breasts or buttocks of female patients during routine examinations;
- Doctors placing their hands or mouths on the genitals of female patients during examinations;
- Doctors pressing their crotch against patients, purposefully and knowingly, during exams;
- Full sexual assault occurring while a patient was sedated or not fully conscious, from touching patients with erect penises to penetrative rape;
- Sexting photos of the naked patients to other doctors or people during surgeries;
- Using sexual language or “talking dirty” to patients during exams
It is impossible to know how often physician sexual misconduct occurs in examination rooms and operating rooms across America every year, however it has been found out by watchdog group Public Citizen, in accordance with the National Practitioner Data Bank, that from 2003 to 2013, of about 100,000 physicians identified, a full 1 percent of those had a report of sexual misconduct on file.
The behavior still appears wholly underreported however, and in that same study it was shown that only 30 percent of doctors in those cases which had a sexual misconduct reported against them had a subsequent state medical board license action against them as well. The implications of this suggest that hospitals are handling instances of physician misconduct internally, but not reporting them to the state licensing boards as is required by federal law.No physician has the right to assault a patient
When you go to the doctor, you have a legal right to not be assaulted or touched inappropriately, or even made uncomfortable by a doctor who feels they can speak in overt sexual tones or rub against you in a clearly sexual way. If any of the aforementioned activity has occurred in a visit to the doctor, contact one of Altman & Altman’s attorneys today. We have over 50 years of experience holding people accountable for their behavior and winning damages claims for our clients.
Any instance of sexual misconduct can have lifelong consequences for the victim – physically and mentally. Do not allow a physician to get away with this behavior out of a fear of not being believed. We will guide you along the entirety of the process and be there for you every step of the way.
Call us for a free consultation to go over the details of your case today at 617-492-3000 or toll-free at 800-481-6199. We are available 24/7.