A doctor, who was accused of alleged sexual abuse by multiple women, was sentenced to prison for fraud.
Recently, a doctor accused of abusing many of his patients received a nine-year prison sentence for fraud and the requirement to pay $2.7 million in restitution. Although the doctor was charged with fraud at the most recent sentencing, the trial for charges brought against the doctor for criminal sexual assault are still pending.
An investigation revealed that as early as 2009, the police received reports for the doctor’s alleged sexual misconduct from 20 women. However, charges were not brought against the doctor until 2015. Many more women came forward and reported alleged abuse after learning the doctor was being charged for Medicare fraud in federal court starting in 2014. Although federal authorities were allowed to bring up sexual abuse claims in the doctor’s fraud trial, he will be tried separately for these charges.
Why doctors continue to exploit patients
Although this doctor’s case may seem significant, it is not abnormal for doctors to sexually abuse their patients and cause them undue harm. Many doctors continue to do so because some victims are intimidated, embarrassed or confused by what occurred so they say nothing. Some patients also believe that their word may not mean as much compared to a doctor’s.
In other cases, accusations of sexual abuse are brushed off by healthcare organizations or hospitals. Rather than notifying the police or licensing agencies, the accused doctor is quietly removed from his or her position.
The scope of the problem
As of present, not enough accurate data exists to determine just how widespread patient sexual abuse is. However, a year ago, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution launched an investigation in Georgia and discovered that two-thirds of doctors in the state were allowed to continue practicing after being disciplined for sexual misconduct.
After launching an additional investigation that involved uncovering documentation and tracking certain cases thoroughly, the AJC discovered that physician sexual misconduct is tolerated to some degree in every state in the U.S. During this investigation, over 100,000 disciplinary documents were analyzed to find cases where sexual misconduct by a physician could have occurred. In these cases, offenses ranged from bargaining drugs for sex to lewd comments spoken during exams.
Reach out to an attorney
Patients who are victims of physician sexual abuse may suffer significant emotional and psychological trauma on both a short- and long-term basis. Those who found themselves in an inopportune situation involving a physician should speak with an attorney to determine what their legal rights are.