In the wake of Larry Nassar’s appropriately harsh sentencing for sexually abusing over 150 girls during his tenure as a physician for both USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, there has been a lot of talk about sexual abuse in the medical industry. Quite frankly, there has been a lot of talk in the media about sexual abuse in general. And the team, here at Allegiant Experts, applauds the effort being made by women nationwide who are standing up against their abusers.
By now, you’re likely very familiar with the #MeToo movement.
The hashtag began as an invite to women everywhere to share their stories of sexual abuse and take stands against perpetrators of harassment. While many credit the exposure of Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein as a sexual predator as the beginning of the #MeToo movement, it’s no secret that women have been enduring completely unacceptable sexual harassment for years.
The medical industry is not immune to this highly unfortunate reality. As Elizabeth Chuck reports for NBC News, physicians who commit heinous acts of sexual abuse have more than just patients as their victims. Far too often, their female co-workers are their victims as well. Earlier this week, Chuck published the story of 38 year-old, Dr. Christina Jenkins who was once sexually harassed in the middle of an operation.
Chuck explains that when Jenkins was a resident, she performed a surgery that required her to spread apart the patient’s staples with a surgical instrument. Her attending physician took this as an opportunity to make an unwelcome pass at her. “You know how to spread good,” he reportedly whispered, “That will teach you how to spread.”
Dr. Jenkins was once paged by her chief resident for sex.
“Astonished that she had been sexually harassed in the middle of an operation, Jenkins quickly finished the procedure,” explains Chuck, “But it was hardly the only time she would encounter that kind of behavior in the male-dominated world of medicine. On another day during residency, her pager went off. It was Jenkins’ chief resident, beckoning her to the call room…he started making casual conversation — and then told her he could make her life easier if she had sex with him.”
The medical industry is dominated by men. And sadly, female physicians and other medical professionals have been subject to sexual harassment for as long as the industry has existed. As Chuck points out, a 1995 study found that more than half – 52 percent – of all women in academic medicine report being sexually harassed.
Sexual harassment in the medical industry is nothing new.
Dr. Jenkins experienced numerous encounters with inappropriate behavior during her residency at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, New York between 2008 and 2013. She also noticed medical trainees being sexually harassed, but because of a coupling of their lack of energy and fear for career suicide, they didn’t speak up. The hope, of course, is that things are about to change.
The Allegiant Experts team would like to reiterate its support for all women who have had to endure sexual harassment in one form or the other. The #MeToo movement is only just beginning! If you’re an attorney working a sexual harassment case involving members of the medical community, please don’t hesitate to contact us to learn about how our clinical expert services may be able to help you.
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