Doctors Held Liable for Sexual Abuse Under the Law But Georgia Medical Board Fights Prosecution and Accountability
SEXUAL ABUSE BY GEORGIA DOCTORS IS BEING REPORTED MORE THAN IT USED TO BE
In my opinion, I don’t think there is more sexual abuse of patients by doctors. It is just simply being reported more than it was in the past. News reports during the past year have highlighted only a small portion of the latest cases of sexual abuse by doctors. Among them, Indiana’s medical board suspended a doctor’s license over allegations of repeatedly touching and propositioning female patients. After one woman came forward with an accusation, more cases were uncovered, according to the state’s Attorney General’s Office. This is a common situation, in that, once one victim comes forward, many more victims come forward to expose the predator. In this case, the sexual predator is a doctor. In Minnesota, a 71-year-old doctor was arrested on two criminal sexual conduct charges after a female patient complained to police about inappropriate sexual touching and kissing during medical treatments. She reportedly took video of one incident. A Kansas psychiatrist agreed to an indefinite license suspension after being accused of having sex with three patients, including one who overdosed on opioid painkillers he prescribed. Unbelievably, this predator masquerading as a doctor remains licensed to practice medicine in the state of Missouri. In New Mexico, a psychiatrist was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting six female patients. Among the allegations were that he fondled patients in the guise of exams, and that he told patients he would provide painkillers in exchange for sex. Once again, to be sure, these are just a few examples that have been publicized, while
Now, allegations of sexual about a North Georgia doctor and his female patients have surfaced in based on sealed court records that were once unsealed. The document reportedly described how Georgia’s medical board investigated the doctor’s alleged involvement with a married, addicted patient. The doctor claimed the woman was no longer a patient when their sexual relationship started, and he denies having relationships with three other women, the document notes. Obviously, we don’t know the answers to these factual questions and the investigation would turn on them.
THE CIRCLE OF WHITE COATS TO PROTECT DOCTORS WHO HAVE COMMITTED CRIMES AND NEGLIGENCE IS PREVALENT
Some cases have triggered huge public outrage. Beyond the infamous Nassar abuse case, those include accusations that a doctor at Columbia University sexually assaulted dozens of female students; that a University of Southern California gynecologist sexually abused and harassed hundreds, and that a Pennsylvania pediatrician molested generations of children. But according to a medical doctor, attorney and former executive director the Mississippi medical board, he doubts that efforts to prosecute and hold doctor’s accountable for this type of breach of the Hypocratic oath will make much of a difference in how medical boards handle such cases — despite its good intentions in opening a public dialogue.
“State medical boards are largely controlled by state medical associations,” he says, “and they still suffer from the white coat circle syndrome, where all the doctors circle up to protect other doctors rather than addressing the problem doctor and his illegal behavior, i.e, : address the need to protect the general public.” There should be laws on the books in every state that criminalized sex with a patient and allow judges to permanently revoke doctors’ licenses who commit sexual assault on patients.
Last year, a proposal faded in the Georgia Legislature that would have required health care professionals to report sexual abuse by physicians, and mandated license suspension or revocation for doctors who sexually assault patients. Why this proposed legislation failed should be obvious to all concerned. The legislators are beholden to the lobbyists who do all they can to assert pressure on lawmakers to protect doctors from any and all liability, even at the expense of protecting the public from sexual abuse. There is not any other explanation for why something as straight forward and reasonable as this is beaten down and defeated. You should be outraged at this, as I am. If you are, you should contact your state legislator and find out why this bill was defeated and how they voted.
For almost 25 years, Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, personal injury, dental malpractice and medical malpractice lawsuits for individuals and families who have been injured or died as a result of the negligence of others in the Atlanta, Georgia area. He is a partner in the law firm of Katz Wright & Fleming LLC, LLC and regularly handles cases in Atlanta as well as Alpharetta, Brookhaven, Chamblee, College Park, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, Smyrna, Peachtree City, and other areas of Georgia. If you or family member has been seriously injured or died as a result of negligence and would like quality legal representation or if you would just like to consult about a potential case, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.