Health care providers are expected to act with a high level of professionalism; however, some choose to grossly violate their commitment to ethics and patient safety by sexually taking advantage of those in their care. According to a story published in The Seattle Times on November 28, Washington state has a history of delaying punishment of health care providers who commit sexual misconduct. The article, “Discipline delayed: Washington state struggles to stop sexual misconduct in health care, leaving patients vulnerable,” states that in 282 cases since 2009 state health regulators took more than a year to discipline providers accused of sexual misconduct.
PCVA’s Darrell Cochran, who has handled many cases involving sexual abuse perpetrated by health care providers, was interviewed for the story. Darrell said that sexual misconduct cases involving providers often come down to a patient’s word against the professional’s. Unfortunately, health care providers “get an incredible amount of protection from their position,” according to Darrell.
The Seattle Times story provides in-depth coverage and real-life experiences of survivors who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of health care professionals. According to the article, health care providers are increasingly fighting disciplinary charges, which contributes to the delay in punishment. One out of every 10 cases faces extraordinary delays, taking more than two years between the initial complaint and the first disciplinary action.
Health care provider sexual abuse is a serious problem that often goes underreported. If you or someone you know has been abused by a health care professional while in their care, our attorneys are here to listen and help. You can learn more about the legal remedies for sexual abuse survivors here.