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California Medical Sexual Abuse Lawyers

When you visit a medical professional, you assume they will treat you with the care and professionalism you deserve. All doctors take the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm and maintain ethical standards. However, some medical professionals are anything but professional. They use their positions of power to assault and abuse patients sexually. If you or someone you love is the victim of medical sexual assault, contact the California medical sexual abuse lawyers at Silva Injury Law.

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Statistics on Medical Sexual Abuse

Sadly, we don’t have accurate statistics on how bad the problem of sexual abuse is in a medical setting. According to a 2019 article published in the National Library of Medicine, the true extent of sexual abuse of patients in the United States health care system is unknown. Reviews of the National Practitioner Data Bank show that very few physicians have faced reportable consequences for sexual abuse.

Unfortunately, California has a reputation for leniency when reviewing reinstatement applications from medical providers guilty of sexual misconduct. An investigation by the Los Angeles Times uncovered that the California State Medical Board reinstated at least 10 doctors who lost their licenses for sexual misconduct between 2013 and 2021. Stories like this are why it’s so important to file a lawsuit and hold these abusers responsible for their actions. Speak with an experienced California doctor sexual abuse lawyer to learn more about your legal rights.

Examples of Medical Sexual Abuse in California

Sexual abuse by those in the medical field can take different forms. Some doctors might allege a sexual act with a patient was consensual. However, even consensual sexual activity between a doctor and a patient breaches professional ethics. Common examples of inappropriate behavior by medical professionals can include:

  • Touching a patient inappropriately;
  • Making inappropriate sexual advances;
  • Taking advantage of a patient under sedation or anesthesia;
  • Performing inappropriate and unnecessary medical examinations (typically of private parts);
  • Making inappropriate sexual jokes or remarks; and
  • Taking photos or videos of a patient without their consent.

Watch for red flags, as you might be able to stop medical sexual abuse before it happens. It’s concerning when the doctor refuses to allow someone else in the exam room or to tell you why they are touching you in a certain place. If the doctor does not use gloves when examining your private parts or insists you undress and expose body parts they are not examining, you have every right to be concerned.

Medical sexual abuse is not limited to standard MDs either. It can occur in other health-care-related fields, too. Here are a couple of examples of different types of medical sexual abuse. 

Dentist Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse by dentists is more common than you might think. Dentist sexual abuse involving children is a well-known, decades-long problem. Even back in the 1980s, child sexual abuse involving pediatric dentists was on the rise. Because dentists don’t typically touch a patient’s body in a routine exam, much of the sexual abuse occurs when a patient is under sedation. Some dentists have cameras in their exam rooms for this very reason. Since patients aren’t undressing, recording treatments under sedation can prevent sexual assault and protect the dentist from false claims.

Chiropractor Sexual Abuse

Chiropractors have the same duties as other medical professionals to be ethical and treat patients to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, numerous California chiropractors have been arrested for sexual abuse allegations in recent years. Some of these chiropractors worked out of different offices, assaulting women in multiple cities. Some of these chiropractors touch patients inappropriately, alleging it’s part of the treatment.

Massage Therapy Sexual Abuse

Many people get massages as part of their self-care routine. Other people are sent for massages to help with a medical condition. Whether you’re seeking treatment from a massage therapist at a resort spa or a physical therapy and rehabilitation center, you have the right to feel safe and not be sexually assaulted.

Who Can File a Claim Against a Doctor for Medical Sexual Abuse?

Anyone who is a victim of sexual abuse by a medical professional has the right to file a claim. You can file a civil lawsuit even if a doctor is arrested and faces criminal charges. 

When the victim is your minor child, you have the right to protect them. If you have questions about your rights to file a lawsuit for medical sexual abuse, speak with a California doctor sexual abuse attorney at Silva Injury Law.

What Should I Do If I Have Experienced Medical Sexual Abuse?

If you are a survivor of medical sexual abuse, you must let someone know. If the abuse just happened, call the police and file a report. If the abuse occurred years ago, you should contact our California medical sexual abuse attorneys. Even if you think the deadline has passed to file a lawsuit, speak with our legal team.

Adult victims of sexual abuse have 10 years to file a lawsuit in California. If the sexual abuse incident caused a serious injury or illness, you could have three years from the date of discovery to file a lawsuit. Child victims have until their 40th birthday to file a lawsuit or within five years of discovering the abuse, whichever date is later.

Confirming the correct filing deadline can be confusing, which is why we recommend hiring a lawyer who can help.

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Contact Our California Medical Sexual Abuse Lawyers

Pursuing a claim for damages against a medical provider who assaulted you is hard but not impossible. If you need assistance, contact our California medical sexual abuse attorneys today to schedule a meeting. Attorney Michael Joe Silva spent part of his career working as a prosecutor in Northern California. He knows what it takes to build a winning case for sexual assault. When you hire Silva Injury Law, you’re benefiting from Mr. Silva’s knowledge of the inner workings of criminal prosecution. Rest assured; we’ll build the best civil case possible.

If you or someone you love suffered harm from a supposed medical professional, it’s time to take action. Contact Silva Injury Law today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you get justice.

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