New York State Laws to Prevent Physician Misconduct and How Columbia University Failed its Patients
Laws and statutes in New York State pertaining to “Professional Medical Conduct” require medical institutions to reprimand employees that commit abuse, including the stripping of medical licenses, loss of employment, and reports to authorities.
New York State Law also requires medical institutions that have employed abusers to send notice to former patients about the misconduct that has occurred.
The notification of patients is required by the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC).
When Robert Hadden was convicted of sexually abusing six patients in 2016, the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) ordered Columbia to notify all patients that Hadden was stripped of his license.
To this day, Columbia University has not notified the 6-8,000 women who were exposed to Hadden that he had his license revoked due to repeated sexual assaults on patients.
Columbia University Has Failed to Notify Patients About Predator OBGYN Robert Hadden
In 2013, Columbia University sent out letters to women on Hadden’s patient list.
The letter indicated that Hadden was closing his practice and offered women the opportunity to continue care with another “trusted” OBGYN at their facilities.
Unbeknownst to patients, Hadden was under active criminal investigation for licking a patient as the letter was sent out.
One week after the letter was released, Hadden was indicted for the felony assault of multiple patients.
He was then convicted in 2016.
Even though Columbia has all patient information and the proven ability to send out letters or notifications en masse, the University contends that it is Hadden’s responsibility to notify patients of his de-licensing and charges, and not theirs.
Columbia interprets the NYS OPMC order to say that it is Hadden’s responsibility to notify his patients of the stripping of his license and closing of his practice despite having access to extensive patient lists and records.
Mandated Reporters – Another Legal Loophole Used by Columbia University to Evade Responsibilities
In New York State, it is mandatory for certain employees of institutions like hospitals and churches to report all instances of staff misconduct or inappropriate behavior, or in other instances where it is suspected that abuse or mistreatment has occurred.
This rule is enforced by New York Social Services Law § 491.
Mandated reporters include, but are not limited to, the following occupations and positions:
- Registered Physician’s Assistants
- Registered Nurses
- Medical Examiners
- Social Services Workers
Too often, institutions ignore the rules on mandated reporting in order to protect staff from repercussions, uphold their institutional culture, or to save themselves from backlash, scrutiny, or civil action.
In the case of serial sexual abuse committed by Robert Hadden at Columbia University medical facilities, Columbia’s medical personnel were mandated to report all forms of misconduct and suspected misconduct to state agencies.
However, there are no “teeth” to the law that requires this reporting.
Columbia University medical personnel and higher-ups knew about Hadden’s serial sexual abuse for decades, but have faced no consequences for their failure in reporting misconduct to relevant state agencies.
Why Does Columbia University Refuse to Notify Hadden’s Victims?
Columbia University has refused to notify 6,000-8,000 women and girls who were exposed to Robert Hadden about the revocation of his medical license and the abuse he committed for decades.
Columbia was ordered by the NYS OPMC to notify patients of these issues.
Even though Columbia has all patient information—and the proven ability to send out letters to their patients—the university is claiming that “a loophole in the law” makes it Hadden’s responsibility to notify patients, not their responsibility.
From a former patient’s perspective, who may be completely unaware of Hadden’s history of abuse, they might believe that they are the only person who has been sexually abused by the predator OBGYN.
By sending out notice to all patients, it would make victims aware of the following:
- They’re not alone and others have been abused in Columbia’s medical facilities by Robert Hadden.
- Columbia University allowed the sexual abuse to occur and enabled Robert Hadden to continue abusing patients for decades.
- Columbia University is liable for allowing the crimes of Robert Hadden to occur.
It is irresponsible and problematic that Columbia University expects Hadden, the serial sexual predator, to contact the women he abused and inform them of his de-licensing and criminal charges.
Columbia has access to patient records, the system in place and contact information to notify patients, and the power to do the right thing.
They will not contact former patients of Robert Hadden to protect the interests of their board of trustees and other Columbia University officials.
Robert Hadden: Criminally Charged for Sexually Assaulting Patients
Hadden has been convicted of felony sexual assault of a patient (oral contact) but has inexplicably been given a sentence that more closely resembles an early-paid retirement than the criminal sentence for a convicted sexual felon.
What’s even more shocking is that even though the NYPD arrested Hadden at a Columbia OBGYN clinic for making oral contact with a patient during a bogus medical exam, he was allowed to continue working unsupervised, where he continued to sexually exploit even more patients.
In 2016, Hadden pleaded guilty to two state charges of a criminal sex act in the third degree (felony conviction) and forcible touching.
Through a deal made with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., Hadden was offered a deal that included no prison time, and he was placed on the lowest tier of the sex offenders list.
After a letter by one of Columbia’s Chairmen was discovered, which shows that Hadden had a history of sexually abusing patients dating all the way back to 1993 – Hadden was indicted a second time and is now being Federally prosecuted.
Hadden is facing federal counts of “enticing and inducing individuals to travel interstate to engage in illegal sexual activity” and is awaiting trial.
The new criminal trial for Robert Hadden begins soon.
If found guilty, Hadden faces life in prison.
Contact Us Anonymously if You are a Survivor or Whistleblower of Robert Hadden's Sexual Abuse
For the past decade, our Founder Anthony T. DiPietro, Esq. has been suing Columbia University to hold them accountable for covering up decades of Robert Hadden’s sexual exploitation and abuse.
From the early years, Mr. DiPietro made a conscious and deliberate decision to put his clients’ level of comfort first.
While you have likely read the stories of several survivors who have gone public to hold Columbia accountable, there are also hundreds of other women, girls, and men, who Mr. DiPietro has represented that you haven’t read about.
The reasons for this are quite simple:
- Mr. DiPietro understands the complex emotions and challenges that victims and survivors wrestle with when deciding to come forward. As a result, he has committed himself to doing everything possible in order to protect and support his clients throughout this process.
- The laws in New York State allow victims and survivors of sexual abuse to file their claims anonymously—thus protecting their identities and private lives while they’re seeking to hold Columbia and Hadden accountable.
If you or a loved one suffered sexual abuse by Robert Hadden, you are eligible to file a legal claim anonymously.
In addition, those who witnessed Hadden’s abuse are encouraged to share their stories or reports about what they’ve seen or heard.
If you decide to contact us regarding Hadden’s sexual abuse, confidentiality is guaranteed.
We understand the pain you’re going through, and our staff is sensitive to your needs as a victim or whistleblower.
Mr. DiPietro’s track record on this case includes:
- Recovering $236 Million against Columbia University and Robert Hadden;
- Forcing Columbia University to enact policies to increase patient safety; and
- Helping pass two different laws that provide new victims and survivors with a path to justice (including the Adult Survivors Act & the Gender Motivated Violence Act)