What to Do if You Have Been a Victim of Physician Sexual Misconduct
There are thousands of documented cases in the United States of doctors sexually abusing patients.
Unfortunately, an estimated 85 percent of such misconduct incidents go unreported because the victims don’t come forward. They may feel guilty about damaging a doctor’s livelihood, think they won’t be believed, unjustifiably feel as if they were somehow complicit, or are ashamed to come forward. Often, patients simply may not know how to go about reporting what has happened.
If you believe you have been a victim of sexual misconduct by a physician, it is important to speak out both for yourself and to help end a potential pattern of abuse. First, tell someone you trust about what happened. Having a conversation about the incident can help you better what happened and gain support in coming forward.
Depending on the seriousness of the sexual misconduct, reporting the incident may mean speaking with the police, the hospital, clinic, practice group or other medical institution the doctor is associated with, or the state medical board. There are also advocacy organizations such as the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), which runs the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-4673), that offer support to victims of sexual assault by physicians. You may also wish to contact an attorney about filing a medical malpractice claim against the doctor.
It is critically important not to wait to report the incident because there is a statute of limitations on filing medical malpractice claims. It can vary depending on the incident, but in most cases in California, the limit is one year.
Deciding to come forward and then deciding who to report the sexual misconduct to is not easy. The medical malpractice attorneys at Hodes Milman & Liebeck are highly experienced in handling physician sexual misconduct claims and can help you understand your options and the best path forward for your individual situation. We provide complimentary case evaluations that are handled with sensitivity and confidentiality. Contact us today online at hmlm.com or call (949) 640-8222.