According to a 2021 study done by the National Institute of Health, almost 5% of women and 2% of men have been sexually assaulted by a doctor or other healthcare provider. This represents a huge number of people when you consider the tens of millions of medical visits that occur each year. In the past few years, the national news has featured many high profile cases of doctors accused of sexually assaulting patients–including the case of a New York doctor who was recently charged with drugging, raping, and filming the sexual assault of at least six women at the hospital where he worked and in his home.
The doctor/patient relationship is built upon trust. Patients are in a vulnerable position when seeking medical treatment, while doctors are in control. This creates an unequal power dynamic between doctors and their patients. When a doctor exploits that dynamic by sexually assaulting a patient, they have violated moral, ethical, and legal standards demanded of their profession. They have also violated a patient’s rights, often resulting in long-term physical, mental, and emotional trauma.
What is Medical Sexual Assault?
Medical sexual assault consists of a number of behaviors initiated by a doctor and enacted upon a patient. These include, but are not limited to:
- Inappropriate touching
- Refusing to allow anyone else into an exam room with the patient (family/friend/nurse)
- Refusing to answer questions about their actions
- Explicit or intrusive questions or comments about sex
- Requesting the patient date them
- Telling a patient no one will believe them if they report the doctor
- Threatening a patient if they don’t remain quiet
- Unwarranted vaginal exams
- Unwarranted/ungloved rectal exams
- Improper use of medical instruments
- Improper sexualized touching
- Masturbating the patient
- Masturbating in front of the patient
- Requesting sexual favors
What to Do if a Doctor Sexually Abuses/Assaults You
If you or a loved one believes you have been the victim of doctor sexual assault, experts recommend you do the following:
- Report the incident(s) to legal authorities. This ensures that there is a legal record of the crime.
- Report the incident(s) to the healthcare facility where it took place. This helps establish a facility’s culpability depending on the actions they take in response to the allegations, e.g. internal investigation, doctor suspension, disciplinary action, etc.
- Report the incident(s) to the state medical licensing board. This creates an additional record and could also trigger further investigation by a separate entity.
- Contact an attorney. As a victim of doctor sexual assault, your rights have been violated. A sexual assault lawyer, like the attorneys at Pintas & Mullins, can help guide you through litigation to ensure that all responsible parties are held accountable and that you receive compensation for your injuries and distress.
What Type of Lawyer Handles Sexual Assault Cases?
A sexual assault lawyer is often a personal injury attorney who specializes in sexual assault cases. In instances where the victim has been sexually assaulted by a doctor, the personal injury attorney you choose should have extensive experience in handling sexual assault cases.
Additionally, most sexual assault lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning they don’t receive a fee unless they prevail in court on your behalf. At that time, they take a percentage of the financial compensation (anywhere from 33% to 40%) awarded by the court. This covers their fees and the costs they have incurred preparing your case.
We Fight for Justice for Sexual Assault Victims
Pintas & Mullins is one of the nation’s leading law firms fighting sex abuse. We are here to fight for compensation for victims of sexual assault at the hands of a medical professional. Physical and emotional injuries experienced by victims of sexual assault can be wide ranging and long lasting, including:
- Self harm
- Substance abuse
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Sleep disorders
- Panic attacks
- Anxiety disorders
- Eating disorders
If you or a loved one has been sexually assaulted by a doctor or healthcare professional, we invite you to contact one of our firm’s personal injury attorneys specializing in sexual assault cases. Call for a confidential and free, no-obligation consultation today. We’re here to help.