Hospitals owe a duty of care to their patients. You expect to be treated for an illness or accident, you don't expect to be sexually assaulted during routine medical care. You are here because:
Medical professionals are some of the most highly respected members of our society. We all trust that if we get involved in an accident or develop a serious health problem, highly qualified doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other trained experts will be there to care for us.
You are not alone. At Abuse Guardian, our dedicated civil attorneys can help. We want your voice to be heard and protected. Contact one of our lawyers today to receive a free case evaluation or learn more about sexual abuse class action cases.
Tragically, in recent years there have been reports of medical professionals exploiting this trust in order to sexually assault and abuse patients, such as the recent Laguna Honda Hospital sexual abuse scandal. Occasionally, predatory patients sexually assault other patients when the hospital staff fails to supervise them properly.
If you've been sexually assaulted in a hospital, by a medical professional or staff member, you deserve justice. We believe you, and we know your story deserves to be told. No one expects to have their trust violated by a sexual predator. When it happens, sexual assault or abuse triggers a wide range of troubling emotions, from pain and grief all the way to embarrassment and guilt. It can be overwhelming and traumatic; some survivors even experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, a clinical disease.
This preferential treatment towards sexual predators in the medical field must stop. Doctors may be revered as heroes in our society, but not all of them deserve this admiration and respect. We must hold predatory physicians accountable for their crimes, and demand more from the institutions which turn a blind eye.
However, the unfortunate reality is that many doctors not only sexually abuse their patients but get away with it.
A report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that physician sexual misconduct occurs in every state, with a total of 2,400 violations against patients reported between 1999-2016. The report also found that these crimes are routinely dismissed or covered up, through such practices as:
This same study found that in Georgia, 2/3 of the doctors who have been disciplined for sexual misconduct have been permitted to practice again.
We believe that all reports of sexual assault, whether they involve doctors or members of the general public, should be forwarded to law enforcement officials as soon as possible. But hospitals aren't always legally obligated to do so.
State laws vary on whether medical professionals are required to report their suspicions about sexual assault when the potential crime involves a competent adult victim.
Hospitals are supposed to be safe environments that provide care for the people who need it most. When a heinous sexual crime occurs in a hospital or other medical facility, it's usually because of a combination of factors. It is never the victim's fault. Ever.
In many cases, at least one party's negligence allowed the assault or sexual abuse to happen. Hospitals can be held liable when they reasonably could have done more to protect a patient from becoming a victim. Examples of such negligence include:
As a victim, it's normal to feel confused and afraid to speak out. A physician's violation of trust is so unexpected that it may feel surreal, and many victims fear that no one will believe that a trusted doctor could be capable of such a serious crime. However, when more victims speak out, it can help others gain the courage to tell their own stories.
Sexual assault survivors often fear coming forward. Some will never disclose the abuse for their entire lives. Our society has a way of punishing those who step forward, either slut-shaming them or just disbelieving them. We can help. Our experienced sexual assault attorneys know that you have the strength inside you to overcome this terrible violation and move forward. This was not your fault. You did not deserve to be mistreated, and you did nothing to incite the abuse.
The only person who deserves blame is the medical professional who abused you. Hospital sexual assault is unacceptable, no matter the circumstances. We want them to pay for their actions, and we want other survivors to know that it's okay to come forward. You can help them by coming forward to share your story. We are here to support and help you every step of the way.
There are thousands of other victims who have gone through the same experience. Although it may feel like you'll never be the same, things can get better if you have the right support system. Our victims' rights lawyers are proud to protect victims by holding sexual offenders and their hospitals accountable when they allow a patient to suffer a traumatizing sexual assault.
No one expects their doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional to be a sexual predator.
You can take back your power and help others. Sexual abuse in the health care industry is widespread, but public awareness of the problem is relatively low. This is because the medical field fails to acknowledge the problem and instead chooses to sweep it under the rug.
We all know about the problems with sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, and on college campuses because victims decided to speak out and take legal action. As scary as it may be, it's important for victims of medical sexual abuse to speak out as well.
A lawsuit isn't just helpful for the victim who's filing it - it's helpful for other victims and society as a whole. We all need medical care throughout our lives and anyone could become a victim of a sexually predatory physician.
Beyond financial compensation, civil litigation provides sexual assault survivors with a forum in which their voices - and only their voices - matter the most. No one can silence a strong plaintiff who shares her truth with the world. At the same time, pursuing a civil lawsuit can also be kept confidential. Since sexual assault is a deeply personal matter, some survivors are worried about coming forward and making the abuse public. Both options are open to you, whichever you are comfortable with.
More importantly, civil lawsuits are completely guided by their plaintiffs. A survivor has complete control over his or her case, the entire way through. That kind of power can be deeply empowering for survivors, especially if you feel like you've lost control. It's a way of sharing your story - and your strength - with other survivors, a way of telling your story the way you want it to be told.
Along with providing compensation for victims, lawsuits can help make institutional changes in the medical field which can prevent these predators from hurting other people.
As a victim, it's important to trust in both the criminal and the civil court systems.
The criminal justice system fills the necessary role of prosecuting the perpetrators of these crimes, while civil attorneys represent victims' rights and help them earn the compensation they need during their recoveries. If you've recently suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a healthcare professional, we recommend contacting both the police and an experienced victims' rights attorney who will represent your best interests.