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  • 07.06.16

New investigation sheds light on “pervasive problem” of physician sexual misconduct 

The Atlanta Journal Constitution spent months crawling through public records from every state for an investigation into doctors who sexually abuse their patients. The paper identified more than 3,100 doctors accused of sexual misconduct—and that is only a fraction of of the cases since the late 90s. 

Here are some of the most important findings, although I highly recommend digging into the series: 

* Many hospitals and clinics fail to report sexual misconduct to regulators. As an example, Dr. Michael Roy Sharpe was arrested for raping a teenage patient. Prior to that, he had been fired by three hospitals in Tennessee, two for sexual misconduct, but there were no board actions against him in the state. 

* Medical boards will keep these cases out of the public eye by issuing “private letters of concern or confidential agreements.”

* Doctors who sexually violate patients will often avoid public sanctions. 

* Medical boards often rely on physicians to self-report sexual misconduct to patients. Unsurprisingly, they typically decline to do so. 

This isn’t the first investigation into this issue, but the reporters do an impressive job of exposing the extent of the problem and the cover-up. Spotlight, anyone? CF