A new report says doctors across the US are raping and molesting patients.
Going to the doctor might not be the most pleasant thing in the world – the doctor’s office isn’t anyone’s favorite place – but when we go there, we do expect that we’ll be safe, and that we can trust the health care professionals who care for us.
But a just-published study from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution may make you think twice about how safe you are in the hands of your physician. The report is the result of a yearlong investigation, and documents thousands of cases of sex abuse by doctors, occurring in every state in the US.
OB/GYNs raping patients during pelvic exams. Anesthesiologists fondling patients while they were unconscious. Pediatricians molesting children. These are just some of the incidents documented in the report. Victims ranged from babies to women in their 80s.
Seventeen different women reported Texas doctor Philip Leonard for fondling them or pressing his erection against them while he was examining them.
In Kentucky, Dr. Ashok Alur told a patient her underwear was sexy, then started to perform oral sex on her. When she confronted him, after reporting him to the police, he said he “couldn’t resist” because “it was so beautiful.”
Missouri doctor Milton Eichmann asked a patient whether she liked being tied up and urinated on, then told her he was sexually aroused. The woman was under Eichmann’s care for urinary problems due to a previous sexual assault.
And California psychiatrist Mandeep Behniwal grabbed a patient’s breast and put his mouth on it before exposing himself and ejaculating on her hand.
These are just a few of the thousands of cases which are part of the public record and discussed in the report.
More disturbing yet is that even after these doctors admitted to what they’d done, or authorities found the accusations credible, all of them were allowed to keep their credentials and continue seeing patients.
The investigation found that hospitals tend to brush off these incidents without reporting them to authorities or licensing boards. Victims are reluctant to speak up, both out of embarrassment and because they’re afraid they won’t be believed. And nurses or colleagues who witness abuse also keep quiet.
Laura Palumbo, spokesperson for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, told CNN that the study was “very concerning. It is astounding that, at the systemic level, there seems to be conditions where sexual abuse is allowed to happen and physicians aren’t held accountable.”
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Comment: Have you ever been made uncomfortable by a doctor’s behavior?