Why Men in One Profession 'Get Away With' Sexual Assault

Doctors mostly just take therapy and move on
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2018 5:15 PM CDT
Why Sexually Abusive Doctors Don't Lose Their Jobs
A doctor works with a patient in this stock photo.   (Getty Images)

Entertainers, journalists, and politicians have lost their careers over sexual misconduct in the age of #MeToo, but it seems doctors have little to worry about. According to an AP investigation, many doctors facing sexual assault charges will keep their medical license and simply go on suspension while taking a kind of addiction-treatment therapy. Most undergo no medical-license review and need only avoid trouble for a five-year period. In one case, Florida doctor Gunwant Dhaliwal was convicted by a jury of misdemeanor battery for grabbing a patient's breasts but still works in the Tampa area. "There's been a failure of the medical community to take a stand against the issue," says a health services researcher.

Many factors weigh in doctors' favor, like hospital staffs and patients who are reluctant to accuse them, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in a 2016 probe. Not to mention that state medical boards are often full of doctors: "They work very hard to get their medical degrees and they're very, very disinclined to yank the license of another doctor," says a medical malpractice lawyer. "The primary focus is: Let's take care of the doctor and help him get through this problem." But the rehabilitation programs don't always work, and either way, doctors who commit a crime are getting away with it. "I had to sit there in front of him, look him in the eye, they made their guilty verdict and that's it, nothing came of it," says the woman groped by Dhaliwal. "He should have lost his license a long time ago." (Read more sexual assault stories.)

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