Medical professionals are required and expected to attend to the needs of people who have become vulnerable due to health-related challenges. However, in some cases, some medical professionals exploit their position of power to perpetrate acts that violate the trust and professional relationship between them and their patients.
Sexual assault by a doctor or physician is as a form of medical malpractice and has been reported by many. It is believed that doctors’ sexual assault cases are largely underreported by patients and that is why reading this article can help you to better understand whether you have been sexually assaulted and the next steps to take.
Sexual Relations with Health Care Professionals
Medical professional are prohibited from sexual relationships with existing patients or clients, especially forced or non-consensual sexual relations or sexual contact. Different medical professions have different rules for what is permissible and prohibited sexual contact with former patients and clients. Some medical professionals have the burden to show that the patient has not been exploited or taken advantage of by the medical professional. Some sexual contact with medical professionals, even if permitted by the professional medical field, can have mental and emotional trauma.
Sexual assault or sexual abuse provides a legal remedy for the harm caused by medical professionals that sexually assault or sexually abuse patients or clients. Two avenues for redress exists: criminal charges and a civil lawsuit. Filing a police report related to sexual abuse by a medical professional will result in an investigation and a decision to file felony sexual assault charges or the prosecution will decline to file sexual assault charges.
In a civil sexual abuse lawsuit, the victim can seek redress against the perpetrator of their sexual assault in the form of damages for the economic and non-economic damages caused by being sexually assaulted by a medical professional. Other medical professionals or the facility that enabled the sexual assault to take place may be held liable in a civil lawsuit as well for the harm caused.
Finally, medical professionals may be held accountable through their licensing board for violations of the board’s rules related to sexual conduct with patients or clients. The Oklahoma Medical Board, Oklahoma Nursing Board, Oklahoma Physical Therapist and Assistant Boards, and others have strict penalties including loss of professional license for inappropriate sexual conduct with a patient. This action can be initiated by filing a complaint with the appropriate licensing board.
What is Sexual Assault by A Doctor?
Sexual assault by a doctor is any sexually-related act carried out by the medical professional that is in clear violation of the patient’s trust and rights, the law, and the code of ethics set out by the American Medical Association (AMA).
Medical malpractice cases related to sexual assault or inappropriate sexual contact, abuse of the medical relationship of trust between the patient and medical professional may form the basis for a medical malpractice suit related to sexual assault. The power dynamic between patients and their physician or other medical healthcare provider makes some patients vulnerable to exploitation by health care providers.
Doctors who are found guilty of sexual assault against their patients violate not only their patient’s rights but also the Hippocratic oath that after graduating medical school. Sexual assault by a doctor or medical professional can be in various forms. Some of the common types include:
– Taking advantage of unconscious patients or patients that are under the influence of medication
– Inappropriate, unprofessional, and/or non-consensual physical contact
– Unsolicited sexual remarks and sexually-related questions that make the patient feel uncomfortable
– Performance of unnecessary examinations that are unrelated to the specialty or reason for the appointment.
Liable Parties in Medical Sexual Assault Cases
While doctors may appear to be at the forefront of the fight against health challenges, they aren’t the only professionals that can be held liable for medical sexual assault. Other healthcare professionals that can be held liable include surgeons, nurses, therapists, rehabilitation specialists, dentists, and hospital staff including part-time care workers, anesthesiologists, and others.
Parties that have been named guilty in medical sexual assault cases can be held liable either as a negligent party who has failed to report the unprofessional incident or as the assailant. Other parties who fail to handle the case as appropriately or those who attempt a cover-up can also be held liable for medical malpractice.
Damages in Sexual Assault Cases
Claiming damages in such a case as this can be complex and that is why you need to have a fierce advocate and sexual assault attorney in your corner. With the right sexual assault attorney, survivors of medical sexual abuse may be able to claim non-economic damages to compensate for the emotional hardship they have been put through. Some of the damages that can be claimed include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, loss of enjoyment in previous interests or hobbies, as well as the loss of interest in intimacy with a partner.
Economic damages – in the form of the financial cost incurred as a result of the assault can also be claimed by medical assault victims. These include the cost of therapy sessions, medical bills, prescription medication, and others expenses as a result of being the victim of sexual assault by a medical professional.
By choosing an experienced and competent attorney, you stand a better chance of not only winning your sexual assault case but also getting full compensation for your expenses and damages as a result of being the victim of sexual assault.
Contact – Cannon & Associates: Oklahoma Fierce Advocates for Medical Malpractice Sexual Assault Cases
Sexual assault perpetrated by a doctor or medical professional is largely underreported. However, our team at Cannon & Associates is ready to work with you to ensure that such a breach of trust and malpractice does not go unpunished. We have the years of experience and expertise needed to deliver an aggressive legal representation that protects your rights and interests in your sexual assault claim.
Contact Cannon & Associates by completing the CONTACT FORM ON THIS PAGE NOW or CALL at (405) 906-4051 for a free confidential case evaluation.