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What to Do If You Feel Violated by Your Doctor

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By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on October 15, 2015 10:31 AM

If you feel violated by your doctor, you have several options. Some of them will be awkward. However, not speaking up means more of the same -- not just for you but for other patients.

Given the somewhat intimate nature of a doctor-patient relationship, you probably feel confused. It may be hard to even distinguish between discomfort based on being a patient in an examination and a violation. You do not have to decide. First, tell the doctor if something does not feel right.

Contact the Chief Physician

If speaking to the doctor directly is impossible, try speaking to the chief physician or a patient liaison, someone else who can help. There are advantages and disadvantages to the direct and indirect approaches. Know them both.

Speaking to the doctor directly means that you minimize potential consequences for the physician. Perhaps the unwanted touching was an accident. People do make mistakes and giving them an opportunity to make good by letting them know your position makes the world a better place, assuming no ill intent.

Consider the Chain of Responsibility and Liability

On the other hand, speaking indirectly to colleagues of the doctor could create serious consequences. If you believe you were violated intentionally, that may be exactly what the doctor ordered, as it were.

An institution or office that ignores such a complaint does so at its own risk. Allowing the physician to go on without addressing the issue creates serious liability. So, putting the problem in the hands of someone who will become responsible for failure to address the issue may be a good way to get it handled.

Speak to an Attorney

If you believe that you were violated by your doctor, you should also seriously consider meeting with counsel. Without any facts, in the abstract, it is impossible to say whether the unwanted touching you experienced amounts to a legal claim.

But it may. Many lawyers consult for free or a minimal fee. Speak to an attorney.

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