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Sex Lies and Stethoscope: US medical system forgives sexual abuse by doctors

The exposé by the Atlanta newspaper shows how sexual abuse by doctors are laxly dealt with. The nationwide footprint indicates that the problem could be as widespread and bigger as the scandal involving Catholic priests
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Sexual abuse by doctors is widely prevalent in the US, an expose by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said.

The medical system’s secretive approach allows most of the offenders to continue practice, the exhaustive report published on Thursday said.

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The Atlanta based newspaper accessed over a 100,000 disciplinary action orders in the past 15 years.

These orders were issued following complaints against doctors that included groping, seduction and rape.

The newspaper identified more than 3,000 doctors who were accused of sexual misconduct.

Of these more than 2,400 had been accused of violations involving patients. Almost half of there still practicing, the report said.

But the most surprising finding was that most of the doctors were held in high esteem in their communities and medical fraternity.

The report mentions several sexual offenders including a top medical expert who is often sought by broadcasters for interviews, the president of a hospital affiliated with Harvard University and doctor of an NBA franchise.

It also mentions a Colorado attorney general’s probe that a doctor had committed sexual violations against five of his patients. This doctor who was on the state medical board and could sit in judgement of his peers.

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A California attorney is prosecuting a doctor who is accused of 26 counts of sexual assaults.

The complaints of sexual misconduct were often handled with utmost secrecy and vaguely worded public orders worked in the favour of the offenders and most patients would never know that their doctor was sanctioned for a sexual offence.

Even if a licence is cancelled after being punished for a sexual offence, the system allows the doctors to reapply to resume practice.

Image Courtesy: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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