Sexual Assault Allegations of Physicians
Aggressive Defense Attorneys for Physicians Facing Allegations of Sexual Assault
Obtaining a license to practice medicine an accomplishment obtained only after years of hard work and dedication. However, everything you’ve worked so hard to obtain can come crashing down in a moment’s notice if you face substantiated claims of sexual abuse from a patient. You may not only lose your medical licenses, your practice, and your income, but you can also face criminal prosecution, very possibly carrying the potential for incarceration.
If you are a physician facing allegations of sexual assault, you need an attorney who will take the case as seriously as you do. Because these cases often involve the possibility of both administrative and criminal sanctions, these cases require skillful preparation and a comprehensive approach that takes all contingencies into account. At Oberheiden, P.C., our dedicated team of sexual assault defense attorneys are highly experienced in representing doctors and other healthcare providers in civil and criminal cases stemming from sexual assault allegations. We are prepared to aggressively defend your livelihood against even the most outlandish and egregious accusations.
Types of Allegations Against Physicians
Physicians and other healthcare providers occupy a place of trust in society, and for good reason. Healthcare professionals are responsible for ensuring the physical and emotional wellbeing of their patients. However, in carrying out these obligations, doctors must often conduct very personal examinations. This opens the door for patients to claim a physician engaged in inappropriate conduct.
While the vast majority of physicians maintain the utmost professionalism when treating their patients, instances of sexual misconduct are not unheard of. Unfortunately, although rare, these instances create a public perception that sexual assault is more common than it is in reality. Thus, even the mere allegations of sexual assault can—at the very least—be detrimental to a doctor’s reputation.
At Oberheiden, P.C., our dedicated team of healthcare defense lawyers represent doctors and other healthcare workers facing all types of sexual assault allegations, including:
While the definition of sexual assault varies between jurisdictions, the offense typically involves allegations that a healthcare provider physically touched a patient in an inappropriate way. These allegations often arise after a physician conducted a personal examination, often of a female patient. For example, a patient may claim that the examination was unnecessary or that, during the examination, the physician unnecessarily touched them in a violative manner.
While most professionals need only be concerned about allegations of sexual harassment from co-workers or the employees they supervise, physicians can be held liable for the sexual harassment of a patient. Sexual harassment can take one of two forms: a quid pro quo claim or a hostile work environment claim. In each of these claims, the physician is alleged to have used their position of power to harass a patient or employee. Quid pro quo claims involve allegations that a physician attempted to induce a patient or employee to engage in some type of sexual activity in exchange for a favor—whether it be free treatment or a pay increase. Hostile work environment claims, which can only be filed by employees, claim that the physician’s “severe and pervasive” conduct in the workplace altered the conditions of employment.
Lack of Informed Consent
In the normal course of treatment, doctors will routinely touch a patient in places and in ways that would otherwise be inappropriate outside the medical context. Of course, the vast majority of physicians take the necessary steps to obtain informed consent before engaging in a course of treatment that may open the door to these allegations. However, certain procedures and evaluations require a doctor to take additional steps to obtain a patient’s informed consent; for example, pelvic examinations. If a doctor fails to obtain a patient’s informed consent, they may face a medical malpractice lawsuit, or even criminal prosecution.
At Oberheiden, P.C., we handle all types of allegations stemming from patients who claim that a physician failed to obtain informed consent or engaged in sexually inappropriate conduct. We can help you defend your license, your livelihood, and your freedom.
Possible Sanctions Arising from Sexual Assault Allegations
Doctors who face allegations of sexual assault have a lot on the line. Depending on the nature of the allegations, physicians may be liable for significant monetary damages, can lose their license to practice medicine, and may even be looking at incarceration.
Medical Malpractice Liability
Generally, medical malpractice insurance does not cover the “criminal acts” of a physician. However, this is a very nuanced area of the law that varies between states. Thus, patients raising allegations of sexual assault will frequently file a medical malpractice case arguing that the physician’s actions also violated the doctor-patient relationship. This is often done to tap into the physician’s insurance policy, in the event that the criminal accusations do not stick. At Oberheiden, P.C., we have assembled an experienced team of medical malpractice lawyers to aggressively defend against false claims of sexual assault.
Medical Board Complaints
Doctors are prohibited from having sexual relationships with their patients, even if the relationship is a consensual one. Thus, if a patient can establish that a relationship occurred, doctors can face the revocation of their medical license. The state licensing board will usually handle these investigations. At Oberheiden, P.C., our knowledgeable sexual assault defense attorneys work closely with physicians to help them keep their license, even in the most challenging cases. We routinely handle licensing board investigations involving consensual relationships as well as allegations of sexual assault.
In the most serious cases, a doctor facing sexual assault allegations will be criminally charged. These cases are the most complex to defend against, because there are often multiple proceedings. A doctor facing criminal sexual assault charges must successfully navigate not only the criminal case, but also civil and administrative proceedings, being careful not to damage one case when defending the other. At Oberheiden, P.C., we have extensive experience representing healthcare professionals who face civil and criminal liability, developing compelling defense strategies taking our client’s overall picture into account.
What to Do If You Face Allegations of Sexual Assault
Learning that a patient is claiming you engaged in inappropriate conduct is panic-inducing, even if the claim is made up out of thin air. At a minimum, these claims can damage the reputation you’ve worked so hard to earn, and at worst, they can put you at risk of criminal prosecution.
Of course, the best way to defend against doctor-patient sexual assault allegations is to take affirmative steps to prevent a patient from raising such a claim. For example, doctors should implement a strict informed-consent protocol, ensuring to obtain patients’ written permission to perform any treatment that could open the door to these claims. Additionally, doctors should obtain a patient’s oral consent immediately before conducting any examination.
However, once allegations are made, the time for planning has passed. Thus, if you are facing allegations from a patient that you committed sexual assault, contact a dedicated physician sexual assault defense attorney at Oberheiden, P.C., as soon as possible.
Contact the Physician Sexual Assault Defense Attorneys at Oberheiden, P.C. for Immediate Assistance
If you are a physician or other healthcare provider, and you recently learned that you are facing allegations of sexual assault or sexual harassment, give the experienced healthcare defense lawyers at Oberheiden, P.C. a call. We represent clients in a wide range of cases involving sexual misconduct, working with our clients to develop comprehensive and effective defenses across multiple proceedings. We understand that, in these cases, you face many potential adversaries, including the media and other former patients who may seize this opportunity to come forward with claims of their own. As experienced litigators with notable experience handling similar cases, we are prepared to help you deal with the media and confront any complications or related accusations that may arise. To learn more, reach out to one of our defense attorneys today at 1-888-680-1745. You can also reach us through our online form, and an attorney will promptly get in touch with you.