There is an unstated bond of trust between a doctor and his or her patients due to the fact that patients often share their most intimate and embarrassing concerns with their physicians and rely on their advice for their own health and wellbeing. It is truly an atrocity whenever a doctor exploits the trust that he or she has received from his or her patients. Patients who are the victims of sexual assault are usually in their most vulnerable state of mind or body and the effects of an incident of abuse remain a scar on their emotional and mental state for the remainder of their lives. In addition to seeking criminal justice, victims of these atrocities are entitled to receive compensation for the mental and emotional anguish they must endure as well as the cost of ongoing rehabilitative therapy.
Alarming Sexual Misconduct Statistics Involving Patients and Doctors
While doctors across a wide spectrum of medical disciplines have been guilty of sexual misconduct, an alarming number of psychiatrists have been charged with sexual assault when compared to any other form of medical practice. Psychiatrists represent just over one in twenty doctors but are involved in on third of all reported incidents of sexual misconduct. Patients who are already undergoing emotional trauma or suffering from mental illness tend to be more vulnerable and susceptible to coercion than most people.
Sexual misconduct may occur in any medical setting, however, and it is important to define what constitutes as sexual harassment or abuse. The following behaviors are all inappropriate and considered reprehensible. If you have been subjected to any of them, you may have a case against your physician.
- Inappropriate advances or unprofessional comments including innuendo and unwelcomed sexual remarks.
- Uninvited touching or kissing.
- Forced intercourse, penetration or any other sexual activity that is not consensual.
- Use of medications to render a patient unable to resist advances.
Physician Sexual Assault Awards
$120,000 Verdict; Physician Sexual Assault; Hoffman Estates, Illinois
This lawsuit was an indirect liability dispute. The plaintiff was a 26-year-old female. She was sexually assaulted and molested by a therapist while she was being transferred between hospitals for pneumonia. That doctor was convicted and sent to jail. However, she also sued the facility for negligent supervision. Her lawyers found out that he had already been convicted two other times for felonies related to rape, intimidation, and similar offenses. They argued that the defendant hospital should have done a better background check. Also, they said it should have supervised the doctor more stringently. They obviously did not do that. As a result, she was sexually assaulted and suffered physical injuries, PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Her complaint sought damages from the facility for these harms as well as medical bills (over $15,000) and other economic damages. The defendant replied that it followed industry norms for background checks and monitoring. In essence, the facility said it did the best it could. Refusing to settle, the matter was put to a jury. They awarded the woman $120,000 in compensation.
$75,000 Verdict; Physician Sexual Assault; Cook County, Illinois
Here, a young woman (26 years old) sued her neurologist. She had seen the doctor a number of times before the day in question. On that day, the doctor made a house visit to examine her. According to the woman, while he was doing that, he asked her to close her eyes. Then, he started to fondle and molest her. She claimed extensive emotional and physical injuries from the affair. The doctor claimed that none of it happened. Also, he cited her past legal history as evidence of her insincerity. Plus, he alleged this case was retaliation for his refusal to help her on another legal dispute. The two sides could not reach an agreement. A jury had to decide the controversy. They awarded the woman $75,000. $50,000 was for emotional distress. $25,000 was for medical bills.
$500,000 Verdict; Physician Sexual Assault; Cook County, Illinois
The victim in this case was a young, 20-year-old woman. She sued her counselor and the counselor’s employer. Her lawsuit argued that the doctor drugged her and posted pictures of her online without her consent. Her complaint further alleged that the company was negligent for hiring him because he had committed similar offenses before in another state. The defendant company admitted it did not do a background check, but also stated that its failures had nothing to do with the alleged acts here. The jury did not agree. It awarded the woman $500,000. $20,000 was for pain. $80,000 was for lost normal life. $400,000 was for emotional trauma.
$352,500 Verdict; Physician Sexual Assault; Cook County, Illinois
The plaintiff that sued here alleged that the doctor sexually assaulted her on a number of occasions. However, she did not recall the events until she underwent psycho-hypnosis therapeutic treatments. She was 28 when she brought the case. The alleged assaults occurred many years earlier. The defendants were successful in dismissing the claims surrounding one of the events. However, a jury was able to review the merits of three alleged sexual assault incidents. In the end, it awarded the plaintiff $352,500: $80,000 for medical bills; $7,500 for disability; $40,000 for long-term pain; $100,000 for past pain; and $125,000 for aggravation of other health issues.
Effects of Sexual Abuse Perpetrated by a Physician
Victims of sexual abuse often suffer from emotional stress and mental disorders for the remainder of their lives. In an attempt to drown the pain, they may turn to substance abuse or become alcoholics. Many are eventually diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety and may suffer from insomnia, experience flashbacks or feel hopeless or lost. Some find it extremely difficult to maintain or initiate new romantic relationships due to shame, flashbacks or emotional distress. No amount of compensation can make up for the immense pain and suffering that these victims endure.
If you have been the victim of such an assault, however, it is important that you are able to afford the treatment you may require to cope in the healthiest manner possible and you should not be required to suffer financially due to the atrocious actions of another person. The Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are a leading Chicago medical malpractice law firm that is committed to representing the interests of people who have been injured or harmed by the actions of others and bringing justice to those who have committed such horrible acts. Our team will allow you access to medical and psychological resources that will help you take the needed steps toward coping and recovery while we pursue the financial compensation that you are entitled to by law.
Learn About how Our Team can Help You Obtain Justice
Contact us today to arrange a free consultation with one of our attorneys and during your consultation we will explain your rights, answer your questions and collect all of the information that we need to investigate and build your case. After we have performed a proper evaluation of your case, we will cover your legal options, let you know what you can expect from the entire legal process and advise you on your next steps. We’ll never require upfront payment from you and if for any reason at all we are unable to secure compensation on your behalf, our services and time will come at no cost or obligation.