Georgia Doctor Practices After Sexual Assault
WSB-TV reported recently on a North Georgia doctor who committed sexual assault against his patients. He touched one of his female patient’s genitals unnecessarily during exams without wearing gloves, and made inappropriate comments about how they felt, according The Independent Mail. The patient caught the conversation on tape. After several of his other patients with similar complaints came forward, he was prosecuted for sexual assault. Even after the tape was admitted as evidence, the jury in his first trial could not come to a verdict. Faced with a retrial, the doctor plead guilty to a reduced charge of simple battery and served a light sentence. Georgia’s medical board placed restrictions on his license that require him to have a chaperone present when treating female patients and to wear gloves. But he is still practicing medicine in Toccoa.
Sexual Assault as Medical Malpractice
Dr. MacDonald has been convicted of a crime and censured by his professional body. There might also have been a civil lawsuit. Would Dr. McDonald’s actions have qualified as medical malpractice? Medical malpractice lawsuits usually argue that the doctor failed to diagnose or treat a patient competently, leading to medical problems. In other words, the standards of behavior in a medical malpractice case are determined by the standards of the medical profession. Of course, the medical profession would normally expect its members to respect the privacy and dignity of their patients wherever possible, but enforcing this standard doesn’t require a medical malpractice lawsuit. Typical medical malpractice cases involve failing to identify a medical condition correctly, failing to prescribe the appropriate medicine or treatment, or waiting too long to prescribe the correct treatment.
Civil Lawsuits for Sexual Assault
Victims of sexual assault by medical professionals can file a lawsuit for the civil law equivalent of assault and battery. Similar to the criminal version, civil assault requires that the doctor intentionally touch another person without that person’s consent. If a doctor fails to get his patients’ consent to touch them, he could be liable in a civil suit for battery. Section 16-6-5.1 of the Georgia Code specifically provides that, in sexual assault prosecutions against doctors who abuse their patients, consent is not a defense. Victims of assault can seek punitive damages (damages meant to punish the wrongdoer ), as well as damages for physical injuries and emotional distress.
Get Help with Medical Malpractice
If you or someone you know has been the victim of medical malpractice or misconduct, you need to get legal help. Contact Medical Malpractice attorney Joel Williams. He can help you understand your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve.