The Growing Number of Sexual Assault Cases in Hospitals
When a patient visits the hospital, he or she expects to be treated with the proper medical care that is required to heal an injury or illness. Unfortunately, an alarming trend shows that a growing number of patients are actually becoming victims of sexual assault and medical malpractice in the hospital atmosphere. Patients are now leaving hospitals worse off than when they first entered.
If a patient has experienced sexual assault in a hospital, it is vital that he or she reports the instance. All too often, patients feel disempowered or intimidated to raise the issue with a hospital administration. A medical malpractice attorney can assist patients who are in this unfortunate position.
The Causes of Sexual Assault in Hospital Atmospheres
Sexual assault is becoming a prevalent occurrence in hospitals due to several factors. First, patients are often in a vulnerable position and often susceptible to this highly unethical and painful form of abuse. Some patients may be under powerful medications prior to entering a surgery, and nursing assistants or doctors may take advantage of this situation. Sexual assault may also occur due to the pressures or job dissatisfaction that nursing assistants experience. Nursing assistants may feel the need to take their frustrations out on an innocent victim, such as a patient.
Sexual assault may also occur if a patient is not being properly supervised in a medical atmosphere. It is possible that contractors or other individuals in the hospital building may drug a patient with Rohypnol. This drug has the power to cause a person to experience short-term memory loss and to blackout. The result is that a patient may be raped and may not be able to recall the experience.
Sexual assault and physical coercion may also occur by a patient’s primary physician. There are a few major ways in which sexual assault tends to occur when a physician is the abuser. He or she may engage in prolonged medical exams that involve unwanted touching. A doctor may develop a highly unprofessional relationship with a patient that entails the exchange of personal information or flirting. The last major way in which a doctor may engage in sexual assault with a patient is when he or she is unconscious.
The Rights of Patients
Patients have the right to be treated with the medical care that they require and with dignity. When a patient is sexually assaulted, his or her rights are violated to a gross degree. If a physician utilizes physical coercion or is sexually abusive, then these may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
As a patient, you should always feel that you have the right to question any exams that a doctor requires. If you feel uncomfortable with the way in which an appointment is progressing, you have every right to stop the appointment or question the actions of the doctor. You have the right to file a report when you feel that your rights have been violated. You may wish to get a medical malpractice attorney involved as soon as you suspect that you have been a victim of sexual assault. An attorney will be able to assist with the investigation process and can contact the police as necessary.
Have You Suffered as a Victim of Sexual Assault?
If you have suffered as a victim of sexual assault, there are some immediate actions that you can take. First, you should make sure to preserve all of your clothing. Your clothing may contain traces of hair or body fluid that can be used to identify the abuser. In addition, you should not bathe or brush your teeth. There may also be traces of bodily fluid or saliva on your body that can be used as evidence.
You should also seek medical attention from a different provider as soon as possible. This way, you can be tested for STDs, pregnancy and even date rape. Hospitals now carry date rape exam kits that can be used to assess whether you have been drugged.
Call an Attorney for Assistance Today
If you are feeling overwhelmed, you should know that help is out there for you. Medical malpractice attorneys have empathy for the harm that you have suffered. They understand that this is an extremely difficult time for you, and that you may be experiencing a high level of anxiety and complex emotions. Feel free to contact one of our medical malpractice attorneys to receive the legal guidance that you need and find a path forward during this difficult time.