Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers: Physician Sexual AbuseSeptember 6, 2016
Trust is the cornerstone of the patient-physician relationship. When that trust is violated by inappropriate sexual behavior, it can leave lasting scars that never fully heal. Unfortunately, according to a year-long investigation by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, there are thousands of cases of sexual abuse by physicians, affecting patients in every state across the country. Moreover, our Maryland medical malpractice lawyers report that it appears little is being done to hold physicians accountable for their actions.
The founder and president of the Empowered Patient Coalition reports that patients who have been sexually violated often experience long-term effects like trauma, and some stop going to doctors entirely, which can have a devastating impact on their future health.
Sadly, some were not at all surprised by the results of the investigation, including Kristen Houlton Sukura, executive director of the Sexual Violence Center in Minneapolis. According to Sukura, because it goes without saying that a doctor is allowed to touch a patient’s body in order to perform an exam or provide medical treatment, some patients are unsure if a doctor has crossed a line. In addition, said Sukura, we live in a culture that venerates doctors. Patients have not been trained or encouraged to question their behavior.
Additional Study Uncovers Similar Findings
A group of researchers at the advocacy group Public Citizen conducted a 10-year study on physician sexual misconduct in the National Practitioner Data Bank. The study found that the medical boards had not disciplined two thirds of the physicians who had evidence of sexual misconduct against them. According to one of the researchers at Public Citizen, if the system does not take physician misconduct seriously, and the state medical boards do not take responsibility for disciplining these doctors, the physician goes from being a trusted healer to a person who causes physical and emotional harm.
Unfortunately, the system is flawed because the boards responsible for overseeing and disciplining doctors are often physician-dominated, so there is an issue of objectivity. And while many boards are working hard to improve their transparency issues, patients are still unsure if their state medical board is the right place to turn to report a complaint.
Overall, the research suggests that medical boards have allowed doctors to continue treating patients, even if there is evidence of sexual misconduct. In some cases, they may turn a blind eye in order to keep a qualified doctor on staff. In addition, patients tend to be reluctant when it comes to reporting sexual abuse by a physician because they feel humiliated, embarrassed, and ashamed.
Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Physician Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse by a physician is a gross violation of trust, which the Maryland medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton take very seriously. If you or someone you love has been sexually abused by a medical professional, you are not alone. We are on your side and will aggressively pursue the financial compensation you deserve to help you recover from this traumatic incident. For a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent clients throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.