Should Doctors Have to Inform Patients Before Doing Pelvic Exams? (Pt 2)

August 29, 2019 Abuse and Neglect Attorney
A woman in scrubs with a face mask pulling on gloves before doing a physical exam for a patient.
A new law might make it a requirement for patients to sign consent forms before submitting to pelvic exams.

Welcome back and thanks for joining us. We’re looking at the issue of how a growing number of highly visible cases of sexual assault by doctors is changing the way people interact with their medical caregivers. As the Nassar case shows, doctors are often treated as ‘untouchable’, which is why it was so hard for his victims to be heard. But those days are over.

Now, even innocent doctors are treated as suspects. Any time a physician has to be a sensitive examination, they run the risk of being accused of sexual abuse, even if they did nothing wrong. It’s a very difficult subject, and a trying time. So what’s the right move?

Avoiding sexual assault by doctors is a hot topic these days!

Nassar wasn’t the only doctor convicted of sexually abusing his patients in recent years. James Heaps, a physician at UCLA; George Tyndall, a gynecologist at USC; and Richard Strauss, a team doctor at OSU are just a few examples of highly regarded campus doctors who’ve been accused and convicted of sexually assaulting patients in their practices. And it’s not just happening on campuses.

An investigative article published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation in 2016 revealed that there were thousands of physicians allowed to practice all over the United States, despite evidence that they’d committed some form of sexual harassment or violence. In every one of those cases, the doctor in question had been flagged for inappropriate conduct but hadn’t been investigated or held accountable for those actions.

So would new laws solve the problem?

Last year, in the wake of the Nassar scandal, legislators here in Michigan attempted to push through a bill that would have made standardized consent forms for guardians of minors mandatory before sensitive medical examinations. In other words, the form would have informed guardians and caregivers of minors of the basics of physical examinations. For example, if the procedure involved any kind of vaginal or anal penetration, the doctor would be required to wear gloves for the entirely of the procedure.

The bill failed, but a very similar one was recently introduced in California. This proposed legislation would make it a legal requirement that all first-time patients be given a pamphlet explaining how the exams are supposed to be conducted, and providing them with a phone number they can call to make complaints if they feel they were violated in any way during the procedure. As you can imagine, several physicians organizations have opposed the bill.

Doctors are being villainized for others bad choices.

There are bad doctors out there, just like there are bad lawyers, parents, business owners, and celebrities. What you do for a living doesn’t make you a good or bad person. But when a portion of people in one profession make horrible choices, it casts a negative light on everyone. And as a result of the abuses committed by some doctors, all doctors are now suffering – labelled as potential sexual assailants and treated with suspicion.

If you or a loved one have been falsely accused of sexually abusing a child or minor, whether or not you’re a doctor, then you know your career is going to be impacted. Because every part of your life will be impacted by claims of that kind. So call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245 and let our experienced and aggressive child abuse defense attorneys protect your rights and your future.