When a hospital announces that one of its longest-serving obstetricians will require a chaperone when treating women in the maternity ward and has been removed from both hospital leadership and the list of doctors on call to deliver babies, you know something serious is going on.
A week after the Los Angeles Times reported Dr. Patrick Sutton had been accused of sexual misconduct by five former patients, three other women filed a lawsuit against Sutton and Huntington Memorial Hospital, claiming he subjected them to unwanted sexual remarks and touching during exams in the 1990s.
Maternity and #MeToo
The women were only identified by their initials in the latest legal filing. K.G. claims Sutton made lewd comments to her and groped her breasts during a 1999 postpartum checkup. And when T.F. sought advice for migraines during her pregnancy, Sutton allegedly instructed her to "masturbate in order to make the blood rush to her head." He also asked that she let him know by phone whether she had been able to achieve orgasm.
As for those five other alleged victims, Sutton settled four of those accusations without admitting any sexual wrongdoing, and asserts he will contest the fifth pending complaint.
Repeat Obstetric Offender?
Sadly, these are far from the only allegations of sexual misconduct made against Dr. Sutton. The Medical Board of California has twice sought to revoke or suspend Sutton's medical license based on similar charges, although he was able to avoid suspension by agreeing to probation, professional boundaries courses, and even psychotherapy.
In 2005, two former patients filed a lawsuit accusing Sutton of inappropriate touching and graphic, sexually charged remarks during medical exams. Sutton also settled that case for an undisclosed sum.