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Doctor sexual abuse is an underreported problem

There is an implied and intimate trust that patients place in the medical professionals caring for them in Connecticut and across the nation. While relatively rare, sexual abuse by medical professionals - particularly doctors - does happen. More and more people are coming forward with tales of sexual assaults and other inappropriate acts in these circumstances. It can be difficult to report or even accept that this has taken place, but those who have been mistreated have the right to come forward and seek compensation for this behavior.

One doctor in Kentucky was accused of kissing and touching a woman's genitals; another in Missouri asked a patient intimate sexual questions and stated that he was becoming aroused; a patient in California was touched inappropriately and sexually assaulted by a psychiatrist; a female doctor in New Mexico touched patients while they were anesthetized - these are just some of the stories revealed as part of an investigative report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. These doctors either admitted to the allegations or law enforcement believed the accusers. The victims ranged in age from infants to those in their 80s.

Some of the doctors were disciplined, but many were not. Victims are frequently confused and scared by what occurred. They do not want to admit to themselves what they believe happened or they do not know what to do. The employers of the medical professionals accused often avoid acknowledging the accusations or force the doctors to leave without admitting wrongdoing. Doctors are the beneficiaries of societal decisions to look the other way at these behaviors. The investigation sifted through documents of misconduct and found more than 3,000 who were disciplined for sexual abuse since 1999. More than 2,400 received punishment for acts involving patients. Unfortunately, many of these are handled in secret.

Many of the doctors keep practicing or leave the location where the alleged abuse took place without a mark on their records or information as to why they left. Obviously, hospitals are concerned about the legal ramifications if they are implicated in such behaviors and it is preferable to settle them quietly. The victims, however, are denied justice in these instances. Because of the long-term anguish that patients feel and the lack of accountability for doctors who engage in these behaviors, it is often necessary to seek justice through other means - namely litigation. Those who have been mistreated or abused in a sexual manner by a doctor need to know their rights. For assistance with doctor sexual abuse, a lawyer can help with investigating and pursuing compensation for these troubling acts.

Source: doctors.ajc.com, "License to betray," Carrie Teegardin, Danny Roberts, Jeff Ernsthausen, Ariel Hart, accessed on April 24, 2017

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