In a lawsuit filed last year, several women have come forward to assert that The New York and Presbyterian Hospital & Columbia University Medical Center’s failures to properly supervise and monitor their employees, have resulted in multiple female patients being sexually assaulted by one of the hospitals’ doctors while pretending to perform gynecological exams. Despite the recommendations of the American Medical Association that all hospitals institute a Policy which requires a “chaperone” to be present during gynecological examinations, obstetrician Dr. Robert Hadden managed to perform unsupervised examinations of several women at the hospitals’ obstetrical and gynecological clinics in Manhattan. The lawsuits indicted that unsupervised nature of these examinations enabled Dr. Hadden to take a myriad of sexual liberties with female patients over what appears to be a period of many years. Despite the number of women involved – and the complaints voiced by these women to office staff after the assaults – Dr. Hadden continued to see women in an unsupervised manner at New York and Presbyterian Hospital’s “East Side Associates” Clinic located at 16 East 60th Street, as well as Columbia University Medical Center’s uptown Clinic on West 168th Street.
We are investigating cases against Dr. Hadden. Please contact the Law Office of Anthony T. DiPietro at (212) 233-3600 if you have any information about Dr. Robert Hadden and these events.
A Long History of Disreputable Doctors in New York
Hospitals are in a unique position and have the opportunity to monitor doctors who commit crimes – and stop them in their tracks. Unfortunately, hospitals do not always take their responsibility seriously by failing to take the action necessary to weed out the perpetrators who take advantage of their patients. Instead, hospitals seem to be willing to keep bad doctors on staff in cases where the doctor has a sizable client base or brings in a lot of revenue for the medical institution.
As a patient safety and medical malpractice lawyer, it disturbs me to see New York Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in the headlines due to a failure to properly supervise their medical staff. Several years ago I worked on a lawsuit against another infamous obstetrician named Dr. Neils Lauerson. Once heralded as the “Dyno Gyno”, Dr. Lauerson has most recently spent time in federal prison due to illegal billing practices. Back when Dr. Lauerson was still delivering babies, he was involved in a delivery where he performed a forceful mid-forceps delivery of a baby who was simply too big to be delivered vaginally. Dr. Lauerson’s botched delivery resulted in multiple skull fractures of the child, and an investigation by the New York State Department of Health. Coincidentally, Dr. Lauerson started his medical career – and had privileges – within the New York Presbyterian Hospital system.
Years later, many people read news reports of another New York based obstetrician named Dr. Allan Zarkin who decided to carve his initials on a mother’s stomach following a cesarean section. Even more recently we learned of a New York doctor attempting to film up women’s skirts using a concealed camera on the subway. The perpetrator Dr. Levinson also trained a Columbia University Hospital.
Now in the latest saga of a New York obstetrician-gone-wild, victims and hospital staff continue to come forward who say that Dr. Robert Hadden has repeatedly sexually abused women in his Columbia University-based medical practice for the past decade. The first few civil lawsuits against Columbia-Presbyterian and Dr. Hadden were filed last year. Since then, additional witnesses and victims having been coming forward to speak out about what has been happening. Some of the civil cases involve women who were sexually assaulted while pregnant.
In the summer of this year, Robert Hadden was criminally indicted for sexually assaulting six different patients. Further, an addition 6-women have come forward as State’s witnessed in the criminal case against Hadden to testify that they were sexually assaulted by the defendant. Finally, at least two medical personnel, including nurses who have worked with Hadden, have come forward to testify on behalf of the victims. All told, that is at least 14 different witnesses who have now come forward to testify against the defendant.
NY Hospital’s Indifference Enabled Dr. Hadden to Sexually Assault Patients
There are several things that make these cases particularly disturbing. At the top of the list is the violation of trust that a sexual assault by a person who has put into such an important position of trust in the community. Further, it raises serious questions about the lack of oversight by Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital. It seems obvious that if a number of women had been assaulted outside of the hospital premises, there would have been around-the-clock surveillance in an effort to catch the perpetrator. But the fact that each of these assaults occurred in “private patient examination rooms” appears to be what has enabled the assaults to occur over such an extended period of time.
The magnitude of these sexual assaults should be scrutinized in light of the long-standing position of the American Medical Association (“AMA”) which specifically recommends that every medical facility institute a Policy requiring the use of a third-party (such as a nurse) to act as a “chaperone” during all gynecological exams in order to ensure patient safety. As stated by the AMA “From the standpoint of ethics and prudence, the protocol of having chaperones available on a consistent basis for patient examinations is recommended.”
So where was the hospital’s oversight of this doctor? The evidence obtained this far indicates that there were no chaperones present during these illegal examinations. If this was just a single isolated-incident, one may be able to simply fault the doctor – alone. However, the facts and evidence collected thus far indicate that this was far more than an isolated incident committed by one doctor acting alone.
A Criminal Indictment Has Been Entered Against the Defendant
Over a dozen women have come forward to testify against Robert Hadden in an ongoing criminal investigation – including two nurses with first hand knowledge of the history of sexual assaults. It’s believed that many more women have been victimized by what may appear to be an institution-wide disregard for patient safety. The fact that these assaults were so pervasive would seem to demonstrate a systems-failure by the hospital itself.
It is understood that there are additional hospital staff members who have yet to come forward. If you know anyone with information about the sexually abuse of patients at Columbia Presbyterian/New York Hospital, please contact the New York County District Attorney’s Office – Sex Crimes Unit or The Law Office of Anthony T. DiPietro at (212) 233-3600. You can contact our office anonymously if you choose. Any information you have will be used to prevent this kind of thing from happening to others.