A new study out of the United Kingdom found that medical students think there is nothing wrong with dating a patient. Wrong. In the state of California, a doctor will likely be subject to discipline and could potential loose his or her medical license due to this type of wrongdoing. Further, and potentially more importantly. the doctor is exposed to civil liability and money damages if the patient is harmed by the sexual misconduct.
Why can’t two consenting adults freely enter into a sexual relationship, you may ask. The answer lies with the fact that a medical doctor is in a position of authority and power, and must maintain professional boundaries.
John R. Sealy, M.D., an expert on the subject of sexual addiction and sexual misconduct by physicians has provided some “General Truths” to identify known dynamics of sexual misconduct involving physicians.
1. No matter how difficult or boundary testing the patient/client may be, IT IS ALWAYS the professional’s responsibility to maintain appropriate boundaries or, if unable to do so, to refer the patient/client for competent help or counsel.
2. Sexual misconduct usually begins with relatively minor boundary violations. Boundaries include time, place/space, money, gift/services, clothing and language.
3. Crossing boundaries by a professional is almost always a power differential.
4. The professional must refrain from obtaining personal gratification at the expense of the patient/client. The main source of personal pleasure comes from the professional pleasure gained in helping the patient/client. The fee for professional services is the only material satisfaction a physician should receive directly from the patient/client.
5. No level of training, nor school of medicine, school of law, school of dentistry, or school of psychotherapy confers immunity from sexual misconduct by a professional.
What if the patient initiates the relationship? Will that save a doctor from discipline or civil liability? Well, the answer is clear: “in no instance shall consent of the patient or client be a defense.” The solution is simple: the doctor should immediately terminate the doctor-patient relationship, and then the two may engage in a personal relationship.
Unfortunately, this problem is more common that once thought, and can have a devastating impact on patients. Here are some useful “red-flags” for the doctors themselves to look out for:
· You start talking to the patient about the patient’s personal life
· You check your personal appearance before a particular patient arrives
· A patient is scheduled at the end of the day to “allow for more time”
· You allow your staff to go home early while you interact with a particular patient
· You offer the patient food or drink
· You exchange gifts or hugs with a patient
· You offer free care to a particular patient
· You call the patient at home when the condition does not warrant it
· You meet the patient outside the office
If you are a patient and have experienced sexual abuse at the hands of your medical provider, please contact Liberty Law immediately.
Read Article: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/14473.php
Liberty Law Office represents individuals who are victims of civil rights violation, wrongful death, personal injury, dangerous products, medical malpractice, defective drugs and devices, employment violations, wage and hour violations, harassment, and discrimination. If you or someone you know needs representation, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.