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Sexual abuse of patient is compensable medical malpractice

On Behalf of | Jul 14, 2016 | Medical Malpractice

It is malpractice in New York and other jurisdictions for a doctor to sexually abuse a patient. According to a national investigation recently reported, the incidence of such sexual contact perpetrated by doctors is more than the public would think, and that is partly because some medical boards protect or shield the doctors from public scrutiny. In other instances, medical malpractice involving doctors does not get reported by embarrassed patients, or if it gets reported, the matter may be ultimately white-washed by a medical board.

The physician’s influence over a patient can be overwhelming and can be used to manipulate the patient into compromising positions where further advantage is taken. In the case of psychiatrists and therapists, the influence is used to overpower the patient’s ability to say no. This is well known by medical malpractice attorneys and medical providers as an abuse of the “transference” phenomenon. Transference is simply the patient’s enormous reliance on the therapist’s position of power and knowledge, which places the patient in a position of vulnerability to an unethical doctor’s predatory intentions.

A group of investigative journalists looked into general incidents of sexual abuse by doctors nationwide and found thousands of incidents of sexual complaints. The investigators also found a tendency of the medical boards to protect the wrongdoers in a manner that was analogized to the practices of protecting priests that have been well documented. The bottom line was that medical providers were able to move to other states and resume practicing. In some cases, they were allowed to return to practice in the same state.

Due to the looseness and unpredictable nature of the state disciplinary systems, it is best for a patient to consult with a medical malpractice attorney prior to going through an in-house medical investigation made basically by other doctors. With the assistance of the attorney, law enforcement authorities may be formally brought into the investigation. All matters, including the initiation of a claim for compensation for medical malpractice, may be coordinated to maximum benefit in accordance with New York law.

Source:, “Doctors & Sex Abuse: Investigation shows how cases are concealed”, July 6, 2016


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