Understanding Sexual Assault in Medical Settings: A Necessary Conversation

Overview of Sexual Assault in Medical Setting in Recent Years

In recent years, society has seen an increase in reported sexual assaults by members within the medical community. This serious problem has long been hiding in plain sight within the medical community but has been ignored, or swept under the rug, by the very members of the medical community who swore an oath to do no harm. These incidents of sexual assault have been highlighted all the more with the cases relating to Columbia/Presbyterian’s ob-gyn, Robert A. Hadden who was recently tried and convicted by a federal jury, and the more recent cases of Weill Cornell Medical Center/NY Presbyterian’s urologist Darius A. Paduch (indicted, arrested and awaiting trial) and Utah’s ob/gyn David H. Broadbent, (yet to be arrested).

Sexual assault, in a medical setting, involves any non-consensual sexual contact, or behavior, by a healthcare professional toward a patient. Such assaults can take a wide range of forms, from unwanted groping, inappropriate questioning and unnecessary invasive testing during physical examinations to more serious sexual abuse.

Key Factors Contributing to Sexual Assault in Medical Settings

Power and Trust:

The doctor-patient relationship is built on a power and trust dynamic. Patients rely on physicians for medical treatment/expertise in their respective fields and are frequently in vulnerable positions, both physically and emotionally. The patients also place their trust in the physician’s education, experience and expertise, that their health and best interests are of paramount importance to the physician and that their best interests are being protected.


Many victims struggle in silence experiencing shock, bewilderment, doubt, shame, a fear of reprisals or worse, not being believed. These very valid fears are some of the reasons for underreporting of such incidents as are is the possible repercussions  to their medical care and treatment.

Understanding the prevalence of sexual assault in medical settings is the first step toward addressing this issue. A 2016 report by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that over 2,400 doctors were sanctioned for sexual misconduct toward patients over a 16-year period. However, the actual number is likely much higher, given the challenges in reporting and proving such cases.

The Law Firm of Anthony T. DiPietro has been on the forefront of these sexual assaults cases in the medical community and he has devoted the last 23 years of his professional life to holding big corporate institutions, like Columbia, accountable for the sexual assaults and exploitation of their patients. Anthony T. DiPietro, Esq. is a highly respected attorney who has been recognized for his outstanding work by numerous legal organizations, including Super Lawyers™ and Best Lawyers in America™. He’s been named one of the Top 100 High Stakes litigators in the United States, and has spoken at the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers for legal education.

High-profile cases like those of former gynecologists Robert A. Hadden, David H. Broadbent, and renowned urologist Darius Paduch, have sparked outrage and ignited a much-needed, and long overdue, conversation about patient safety and dignity. We at The DiPietro Law Firm believe it is essential that people know their rights, make them aware of the abuses that have occurred and help them fight sexual abuse.

Patient Rights in Medical Settings

Understanding the rights of patients is essential. The Code of Medical Ethics of the American Medical Association states:

  1. Doctors must protect the privacy and dignity of their patients.
  2. Non-consensual touching, of any kind, is a violation of these rights.
  3. The patient has the right to refuse and/or stop any medical treatment or examination that causes them discomfort or uneasiness.

Resources for Victims of Sexual Assault in Medical Settings

If you are a victim of sexual assault in a medical setting, there are resources available to help you:

  • Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN): Offers support and guidance to victims, providing information on reporting incidents and navigating the legal process.
  • Support Networks: Speaking with a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional can provide emotional support during this difficult time.

Remember you’re not alone anymore, and you’re not to blame. Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault, and people and organizations like the DiPietro Law Firm are ready, willing and able to help in holding the predator, and the institutions employing them, accountable.

Our office also understands the psychological and emotional toll that sexual abuse victims face, and we are the first in the nation to offer free counseling sessions by a licensed professional.By understanding, discussing, and taking action against sexual assault in medical settings, we can work towards preventing it and supporting those affected.

Let’s continue this necessary conversation and work together towards a safer, more respectful healthcare environment for all patients. All calls are 100% confidential and our office provides free consultation.

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Here, at The DiPietro Law Firm, we’re committed to helping victims of sexual abuse and assault find the justice they deserve.

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About Anthony T. DiPietro

Founder Anthony T. DiPietro, Esq. is a compassionate and skilled trial attorney who has completely dedicated the past 23 years of his career to litigating medical malpractice and sexual abuse cases against major corporate institutions including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and other wrongdoers.

Mr. DiPietro has also obtained some of New York State’s highest verdicts and settlements, and has been selected to New York State Super Lawyers® each year, for the past 10 years in a row.

In 2022, Mr. DiPietro was selected as one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators for the landmark cases he’s won on behalf of survivors of sexual exploitation and abuse.

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Recent Posts

Do You
Have A Case?

Here, at The DiPietro Law Firm, we’re committed to helping victims of sexual abuse and assault find the justice they deserve.

All information discussed during our consultations always remains completely 100% confidential.

Would you like our help?

Cases We're Currently Litigating

Years of Abuse:  1987 – 2016


Robert Hadden, a disgraced Obstetrician-Gynecologist (OB/GYN) who worked for Columbia University and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, was criminally convicted in 2016 of sexually exploiting and abusing patients under the guise of medical care.

Hadden used his position of authority and trust to sexually exploit women and girls for nearly three decades as a Columbia University physician.

All the while, Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Hospital administrators turned their backs and ignored reports of Hadden’s abuse, gaslighting patients and the public.

Read More:

Years of Abuse:  1979 – 2022


David H. Broadbent is a former OB/GYN under criminal investigation and facing civil lawsuits for sexual abuse of patients.

Broadent worked at multiple medical facilities in the Provo, Orem and Salt Lake City, UT areas.

These facilities included Intermountain Healthcare’s Utah Valley Hospital, MountainStar Healthcare’s Timpanogos Hospital, other Utah health care providers, and he also had adverse action taken against his medical license back in 1990.

Read More:

Years of Abuse:  1961 – 1996


22 predator teachers and administrators, over the course of 35 years.

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If you have any questions about whether or not you have a case, or just want to obtain more information about what you’ve experienced – feel free to contact us through our secure website chat.

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