Sexual Assault by Medical ProfessionalsThis past spring, a surgical assistant allegedly sexually assaulted a patient in Montgomery County after she had a procedure. The 47-year-old, Mir Asadullah Naqvi, was arrested after the woman reported the April 5 assault at the Olney Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

Detectives and police gathered all evidence connected to Naqvi, who is currently awaiting a bond hearing after being charged with second-degree sexual assault and third- and fourth- degree sexual offenses.

How common is sexual assault by medical professionals?

A 2019 paper published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine states:

A 2017 exploratory analysis of 101 cases of physician sexual abuse of patients found that the primary forms of abuse in these cases were inappropriate touching (33%), sodomy (31%), rape (16%), child molestation (14%), and purportedly consensual sex (7%). It also revealed that certain patient characteristics (such as female gender and young age) and certain physician characteristics (including male gender, age greater than 39, and consistently examining patients alone in nonacademic settings) were associated with physician sexual abuse.

How do healthcare professionals assault their patients?

There are many examples of how physicians can commit sexual assault against patients, including:

  • Sexual impropriety. Physicians can commit sexual impropriety against a patient when they watch a patient undress or examine a patient’s genitals without the use of a glove. Physicians can also commit sexual impropriety against a patient by making offensive and sexual remarks.
  • Sexual violations. Physicians can commit sexual violations against a patient when they engage in physical sexual contact with the patient. This physical contact can range from kissing to inappropriate touching or nonconsensual sexual intercourse. If physicians engage in inappropriate sexual acts like masturbation or offering drugs in exchange for sexual acts, that is another form of a sexual violation.

Some medical professionals may rely on the use of drugs or physical restraints to subdue patients as they sexually assault them. Doctors and healthcare workers can also hide their intentions behind the guise of a patient’s physical examinations.

Some of the signs that a patient has been sexually assaulted include a fear of visiting or being treated by a physician, insomnia, a feeling of anxiety or depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and physical harm that leads to bleeding or scarring.

Common predatory behaviors by medical professionals

One of the common behaviors that physicians use to sexually assault patients is grooming. Grooming is a behavior where sexual predators attempt to emotionally manipulate their victims with the intention of committing sexual abuse. Sexual abusers use grooming as a way to lower the victim’s guard and coerce them into the abuse. Physicians groom their patients by trying to create an environment of forced intimacy between them and their patients.

Some examples of grooming from physicians include:

  • Failing to obtain consent in reference to a specific examination
  • Touching a patient in a way that feels sexual
  • Making inappropriate or suggestive remarks instead of maintaining a professional, medical tone during a visit
  • Attempting to establish a social relationship with a patient

To commit sexual assault against patients, physicians take advantage of private areas where there is little to no supervision. These areas can include physician offices, in-home care assistant agencies, mental health facilities, nursing home centers, dental offices, and cosmetic surgery centers.

How healthcare facilities protect medical professionals who commit sexual assault

Often, facilities like hospitals and urgent care centers will protect their physicians when they have been accused of sexual assault. Other healthcare facility staff members may tamper with evidence or outright ignore the complaints of inappropriate sexual behavior to protect physicians.

Board or staff members would rather protect these physicians and help them keep their positions instead of reporting them to the proper authorities. One reason for these unethical actions could be due to the shortage of medical professionals in the healthcare industry. Because the healthcare industry experiences a significant amount of job burnouts and physician shortages, management may reason that they cannot afford to lose another physician.

Why sexual assault victims of medical professionals do not come forward

Victims of sexual assault may not come forward for many reasons. Many victims suffer from shame and do not want to be retraumatized again. Many victims do not believe that their perpetrator will be prosecuted. In reference to sexual assault by medical professionals, victims may believe that their medical care will be seriously affected if they pursue legal action against the medical professional. Prior to the sexual assault, victims may have trusted that their medical care providers had their best interest at heart. After the sexual assault, victims may have an issue seeking medical services moving forward.

What to do after a sexual assault

The first step for sexual assault victims of medical professionals is to seek the help of a sexual assault lawyer. Sexual assault victims should consult with an experienced lawyer to determine the best legal strategy for their case. Taking action against a predatory medical professional can stop them from committing sexual assaults against another victim. In many cases, these doctors have assaulted patients for years before any legal consequences are brought against them.

The second step for sexual assault victims is to seek therapeutic help following their assault. An assault can cause long-term emotional and mental trauma. Seeking assistance can help.

Please contact Paulson & Nace, PLLC through this contact form or by calling 202-463-1999.