Medical professionals must be held to the highest ethical standards due to the enormous trust placed in them by their patients, who often come to them when they are at their most vulnerable. Any exploitation of this trust on the part of a healthcare professional is unacceptable and can have devastating consequences for the victim. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s investigation into sexual misconduct in the medical profession found “disturbing acts of physician sexual abuse in every state.” The abuse included molestations by pediatricians, fondling by anesthesiologists, seductions by psychiatrists, and rapes by OB/GYNs. Victims ran the gamut from babies, adolescents, and drug addicts, to jail inmates, women in their eighties, and childhood sexual abuse survivors. All too often, these individuals are confused, embarrassed, or intimidated by what happened. They feel no one will believe them.

 

If you experienced sexual assault or abuse by a medical or healthcare professional, Showard Law Firm is here to make your voice heard and fight to achieve justice on your behalf. We invite you to contact us for a free, completely confidential consultation. We will listen to your story and help in any way we can, from connecting you with resources for sexual assault survivors to exploring all of your legal options.

 

If you are a survivor of medical sexual assault, you have the right to hold the person who egregiously violated your trust accountable and receive restitution for the harm they caused.

 

Forms of Sexual Assault Committed by Doctors and Other Medical Providors

 

Sexual assault on the part of medical professionals can occur in numerous ways:

 

  • Committing sexual acts while a patient is under anesthesia.
  • Performing unnecessary breast or pelvic exams.
  • Exposing oneself to patients or walking in on them while they are dressing.
  • Engaging in acts of self-gratification in front of patients.
  • Taking photos or videos of private parts.
  • Using chemical or physical restraints on a patient.
  • Unwanted hugging, kissing, or touching.

 

Medical Settings Where Sexual Assault and Abuse Occur

 

It’s not just a physician’s office where sexual abuse may take place. Incidents have been reported at:

 

  • Adult care facilities
  • Chiropractic care offices
  • College sport physician offices
  • Cosmetic surgery centers
  • Dentist offices
  • In-home care assistant agencies
  • Massage parlors
  • Mental health clinics
  • Nursing homes
  • Rehabilitation therapy centers

 

In these environments, it is not only the individual perpetrator who is legally responsible for the abuse. The employer may be responsible for negligent hiring, training, and retention. If sexual assault is occurring under the facility’s oversight, they may be held liable under civil law.

 

What to Do If You Have Suffered Medical Sexual Abuse

 

Patients who have been sexually violated by a doctor or other healthcare professional may feel like they don’t know where to turn or what to do next. If you are ready to talk about what has happened, you can always find support at Showard Law Firm.

 

  • Report what happened. If you have been abused by a medical professional, contacting local law enforcement to file a police report is often the first step. A police report serves as vital evidence and spells out the crucial facts.

 

  • Contact the medical facility. Informing the doctor’s office can allow the facility to begin an internal investigation, which can prevent others from being similarly victimized.

 

  • Contact the state medical licensing board. Authorities at the state medical licensing board may investigate your allegations to determine if the medical examiner’s license should be revoked.

 

  • Press criminal charges. If there is substantial evidence, the district attorney may decide to press criminal charges against the medical professional. If convicted, the doctor can be fined, placed on probation, de-licensed, imprisoned, or placed on a sex offender registry.

 

  • Pursue a civil claim. Contact Showard Law Firm to pursue compensation for your losses and harm suffered. The money you receive can help you cover medical expenses, take the time you need off work to recover, and pay for mental health counseling.

 

  • Talk to a professional. Sometimes sexual abuse survivors feel they are “fine,” but adverse psychological effects can show up in the days, months, and years that follow.

 

Showard Law Firm can connect you with counselors who are specially trained to help rape and sexual assault survivors. We can also contact the police, medical facility, district attorney’s office, and state medical board on your behalf. If you have questions about filing a medical sexual assault lawsuit, we are here to answer them.

 

Ethical Standards for Medical Professionals

 

The American Medical Association has a zero-tolerance policy toward intimate encounters and romantic relationships in medical settings. According to official AMA policy, such interactions are unethical, as they detract from the goals of a patient-physician relationship, potentially exploiting patient vulnerability and compromising the physician’s ability to make objective assessments.

 

The Garman Guidelines represent the widely-accepted ethical standards for medical professionals who should:

 

  • Let patients disrobe and dress in private, offering gowns and drapes as needed.
  • Allow patients to have a staff member or chaperone with them in the room for pelvic and breast exams.
  • Communicate with patients about the reason behind certain exams and methods.
  • Avoid flirtatious comments or behavior toward patients, no matter how “harmless.”
  • Routinely review standard physical exam procedures.

 

It is unacceptable for medical examiners to touch a patient’s private parts without gloves, decline a request to have someone else in the room, insist on undressing body parts not being examined, or ask personal questions about sexual activity.

 

As a patient, you have the right to end an exam at any time if you feel pain or emotional discomfort. You have a right to only undress the parts that require examination. You can ask for a medical professional of another gender if that makes you feel more comfortable.

 

How a Medical Sexual Assault Lawyer Can Help

 

If you have been sexually assaulted or abused by a medical professional, Showard Law Firm can connect you with local resources for healing, while advising you on your options to press criminal charges, pursue civil litigation, or both. Pursuing legal action can put you in a position to receive financial compensation to cover past, present, and future expenses related to the assault and reinforce the message that sexual abuse cannot and will not be tolerated in our society.

 

Survivors of sexual assault by doctors, physicians, nurses, or other healthcare professionals deserve justice. Reach out to Showard Law Firm to see how we can help.

 

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