Each of us needs to pay for professional services and advice on a regular basis. We take our car to the repair shop, we hire an accountant to help us with our taxes and we regularly pay for deliciously prepared food and table service in restaurants. Bad service in these situations can certainly be frustrating.
But when it comes to medical and mental health professionals, the expected standards of conduct are different because the potential for harm is much greater. As patients, we are necessarily vulnerable while in the care of these professionals. For this and many other reasons, the behavior of doctors and therapists must be above reproach.
Sadly, physicians and mental health professionals sometimes take illegal advantage of the powerful positions they hold. As one example, a New York City gynecologist is currently facing criminal charges for allegedly sexually abusing at least six of his female patients. The majority of the victims were reportedly pregnant when the sexual abuse occurred.
According to news sources, the acts of abuse allegedly included “overly frequent and invasive breast exams” as well as “invasive questions about [the women’s] sex lives.” Between September 2011 and June 2012, the 55-year-old gynecologist also allegedly fondled and performed oral sex on several of his patients. The abuse occurred after nurses had left the examination room.
Two civil lawsuits have previously been filed against the doctor by former patients. One of these lawsuits was dismissed over apparent issues with plaintiff anonymity but is being appealed.
Many women are inherently uncomfortable being examined by male gynecologists, in part, because they worry about behavior like this. Although most gynecologists (and doctors in general) are professional and caring, those who try to take sexual advantage of their patients often cause profound damage to their victims and to the profession as a whole.
Source: NY Daily News, “EXCLUSIVE: New York City gynecologist charged with sexually abusing patients,” Barbara Ross, Stephen Rex Brown and Rich Schapiro, June 18, 2014