Doctors go through years of rigorous training so that their patients can feel safe and comfortable putting their bodies and health in their hands. This vulnerability and balance of power is something most doctors are careful not to cross.
Some of the situations a patient may find themselves in can feel uncomfortable and vulnerable, which is, unfortunately, part of some scenarios and procedures. But how can you tell when these uncomfortable situations breach the boundary of professionalism? To help you identify what you’re feeling, here are five signs that your doctor is behaving inappropriately.
While there are situations and procedures that may require you to be nude, you should always be able to cover yourself. Additionally, you should never have to undress unnecessarily—follow and trust your gut. If you go into a doctor’s appointment complaining about an ingrown toenail, you wouldn’t expect them to make you remove your pants. Also, you should never have procedures involving genitalia or breasts that are unrelated to what you’re having problems with.
Unfortunately, many patients don’t have the educational background to tell whether a procedure is unnecessary or not. In these cases, ask your doctor what the procedure is for and why. If they give you a vague answer, become irritated, or outright ignore you, this is a cause for serious concern. It’s part of their job to ensure that you’re as comfortable as possible, educated, and informed.
Some fully professional touches may still feel uncomfortable, but they should never make you feel unsafe. Remember that doctors have received training to touch patients in a way that is far from romantic, flirty, or sexual. Furthermore, any touches with the intent to sexually arouse a patient is illegal, unprofessional, and inappropriate.
Unless they are commenting on the appearance of a wound, injury, or site procedure, a doctor should never comment on your appearance. They may compliment a nice shirt or dress, but even in some situations, that can still be inappropriate. Comments about your body of sexual or cruel nature are inappropriate. Long states at your clothed or nude body that are unnecessary to the medical documentation, procedure, or exam are also unacceptable.
The most blaring sign that your doctor is behaving inappropriately is if they attempt to form a romantic relationship. This can start with a doctor trying to become more friendly, asking for your personal social media, or sending you messages unrelated to your medical situation. While you may become close with your doctor and even become friends, it’s wrong for them to pursue an unwanted relationship.
If you or a loved one feel that you have been sexually abused, harassed, or assaulted by a medical professional, contact The Law Firm of Tamara N Holder. We can put you in contact with a patient sexual assault lawyer who will take care of your case and provide you with the representation you deserve.