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Patient says North Carolina doctor assaulted her during exam

When patients visit any type of medical professional in Fayetteville, they expect to receive treatment that will help them feel better. Patients certainly don't expect to be harmed by their physicians, surgeons and other medical professionals.

Medical malpractice is often associated with surgical errors, birth injuries and medication errors. However, another form of medical malpractice might include assault. Whenever a health care practitioner deviates from the accepted standard of care, he or she is committing malpractice. Assaulting a patient is obviously not acceptable.

One patient who claims that she was sexually assaulted by a doctor last year has come forward and filed a lawsuit. The patient filed a complaint with the North Carolina Medical Board stating that she was assaulted by a doctor when she went in for a follow-up appointment after surgery. The woman is requesting compensation for the emotional damage the incident has since caused her to suffer.

Before the exam, the lawsuit states, the doctor allegedly asked the patient to pull her shorts and underwear down. Typically, patients are offered a gown when they need to undress for an exam, but the woman's complaint states that she was not offered a gown while undressing.

During the exam, the woman said that she was sexually assaulted by the doctor, who was the only medical professional in the room with her at the time. The woman was traumatized. She didn't report the incident to authorities, but she did report the assault to a close friend and a therapist after she began seeking treatment for her emotional injuries.

The state Medical Board said that it will review the claim. This process could take up to six months before the Medical Board decides to take action or not. The doctor claims that he did nothing wrong during the exam. But the woman's lawsuit claims that she still has trouble sleeping, and that the incident left her feeling "helpless."

Victims of assault often do feel helpless, but they should understand that there are ways to protect their rights and to prevent assaults from happening to others. To learn more about protecting one's rights after an assault in a doctor's office or on someone else's property, victims may want to speak to an attorney.

Source: Gaston Gazette, "Patient claims doctor sexually assaulted her," Diane Turbyfill, Aug. 8, 2012

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