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Study reveals medical malpractice via sexual abuse of patients

California residents may be interested to learn of a recent study that points to alarming findings in the medical field. The study, published by the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution" (AJC), following a year of investigation, found that the prevalence of sexual abuse by physicians against patients was frighteningly common and widespread.

The investigation by the AJC revealed sexual abuse that occurred nationwide and ran the gamut across medical fields, undoubtedly constituting medical malpractice. From fondling by anesthesiologists and ophthalmologists to rapes by OB/GYNs, the study points to more than simple doctor errors, but rather a pervasive abuse of power by a person a patient is supposed to trust for medical assistance. The study revealed one California case of sexual abuse involving a psychiatrist who put his hand down a female patient's blouse, grabbed her breast and put his mouth on it before exposing himself to her. Such alarming abuse from a doctor in a position of trust can undoubtedly have a long-term impact on a patient's well-being.

The AJC's investigation identified more than 3,100 doctors who had been accused of sexual infractions and publicly disciplined, but were still actively practicing. Over two-thirds of those doctors had also been sanctioned for violations that involved patients.

Frighteningly, another study regarding doctor sexual abuse reveals that these types of occurrences may be widely underreported. This ten-year study revealed that of the doctors with strong evidence against them that they had committed sexual misconduct, two-thirds of those doctors had not received discipline from medical boards.

These are alarming findings regarding doctor negligence. A patient who has been the victim of sexual abuse by a physician, however, has legal options through which he or she can hold a negligent and abusive doctor responsible. An attorney may be able to offer guidance.

Source: CNN, "Report on physician sexual abuse stirs alarm," Susan Scutti, July 12, 2016

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