NPEIV applauds the courage of women like Evelyn Yang, who spoke out about being sexually abused by her OB/GYN while pregnant. As medical care inherently involves intimacy and trust, medical professionals should always be held to the highest standards of behavior.
Sexual abuse by doctors is an exploitation of power that can impact an individual’s trust and willingness to receive medical care in the future. Society, law enforcement, the legal system, and professional licensing boards must continue to improve and expand their capacity to support individuals who have experienced such abuse and encourage them to come forward. Abuse by physicians and medical professionals is not only a trauma to the body and spirit, it is a violation of patient rights, and casts a pall over the work of dedicated and caring professionals.
The recent passage of SB 425 in California is one example of a legislative effort to address this issue. The bill requires health facilities to report allegations of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct made by a patient against a licensed health care practitioner to that practitioner’s licensing board within 15 days. NPEIV urges medical licensing boards to protect patients and hold practitioners to high standards of care. This includes enactment of transparent, patient-centric policies that are enforced with a trauma-informed lens.