Over the past several years, the national and regional news media have carried reports of doctors who have been accused of sexually abusing their patients. In many of these cases, the victims of such abuses were children or teenagers who hoped to participate in team sports such as volleyball or gymnastics.
On this page the sexual abuse lawyer at the Doan Law Firm will provide an overview of what may prove to be an under-reported form of sexual abuse: Doctors who use their positions of trust to victimize their patients. He will then review the legal options that may be available to those that have been victims of doctor-patient sexual abuse.
How sexual abuse by doctors can occur
If you run a web search for “doctor sexual abuse” using search engines such as Google or Bing, your search will return literally thousands of “hits.” While it is admitted that many of these hits are duplicates that refer to the same incident multiple times, the sheer number of such reports indicates that these “problem” doctors may be responsible for thousands of unreported sexual crimes. Three unrelated news media reports will illustrate the potential extent of the problem of “out of control” doctors who sexually assault their patients.
1. Beginning in July of 2016, and at an average of once each month, theAtlanta Journal-Constitution published a series of six investigative reports examining publicly-available physician disciplinary records from each state’s medical practice board, or some similar agency, having the legal authority to impose sanctions on doctors who were accused of sexually assaulting their patients. These reports documented that doctors accused of sexual assault are routinely treated less harshly than non-physician sex offenders and are rarely identified on a given state’s public registry of sex offenders. Furthermore, the authors documented that many of these agencies make it extremely difficult to locate accurate information on a doctor’s dealings with such agencies, even though these agencies are supposedly “protecting” the public from “problem” health care providers.
2. In September 2016, theIndianapolis Star reported that Larry Nassar, DO, the former USA Gymnastics (USAG) national team physician, had been accused of sexual assault by two former USAG team members. Since that first report, Nassar has been named in hundreds of lawsuits filed by athletes who said that Nassar sexually abused them. Nassar later entered guilty pleas to a variety of federal and State of Michigan criminal charges that all but guarantee that he will die as an inmate in either a federal or a state prison. The Michigan State University School of Osteopathic Medicine, where Nassar had been a faculty member, later agreed to establish a $500 million fund to settle claims filed against Nassar and/or Michigan State.
3. In May of 2018, theLos Angeles Times reported that Dr. George Tyndall, a gynecologist at the University of Southern California’s Student Health Center, had a two-decade history of unusual behavior such as conducting “suspicious” medical examinations and making “inappropriate” comments to young women who were undergoing physical exams. TheTimes also reported that, rather than investigating the young women’s claims, USC apparently had “covered up” such reports of Tyndall’s misconduct. In the weeks following theTimes report, at least 20 of Tyndall’s former patients had filed sexual assault/sexual battery lawsuits against Tyndall and/or his employer, the University of Southern California.
Why you will need a lawyer to manage your sexual abuse by a doctor case
As the authors of theAtlanta Journal-Constitution series found out, most state medical boards are more concerned with protecting thestatus quo than in protecting patients from abusive doctors. As misguided as such policies are, it also means that most such agencies will not be interested in assisting you if you have been sexually abused by a doctor. Given this reluctance on the part of state regulators to act when confronted by evidence of a doctor’s misconduct, many former patients and their families are forced to turn to filing civil lawsuits against those doctors who have caused such harm.
One such law firm that accepts sexual abuse by a doctor lawsuits is the Doan Law Firm, a nationwide law practice with offices in most major cities throughout the country.
When you contact our firm to arrange your initial case review, that review is always free of charge and does obligate you to retain us as your attorney in your potential sexual abuse by a doctor lawsuit. If you decide that we should represent you in your sexual abuse lawsuit, we are willing to assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing your case for trial in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement that we will win for you.