Austin, TX asked in Criminal Law and Sexual Harassment for Texas

Q: What are the ethics rules when a patient sexually assaults their doctor and the doctor continues to treat the patient?

A doctor is sexually assaulted by their patient, does not report the situation to law enforcement, and continues to treat the patient for another two years until their death. Is the doctor violating any ethics rules? Does the doctor have an obligation to refer the patient to a new physician who would not have a conflicted relationship?

1 Lawyer Answer
John Cucci Jr.
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Houston, TX

A: That's a horrible story!

The patient should have gone to jail!

Each State has ethical rules with which every Doctor must comply as part of having a license to practice medicine.

However, none of the rules limit the rights of any doctor, who is a victim of a crime.

Once the patient acts in a criminal manner, or threatens to do the same, the Doctor-Client Relationship can be ended by the Doctor.

That includes a complete REJECTION of any further contact or treatment with the offender.

There would still be professional responsibility to tender a copy of the patient's file to his/her new Dr. But nothing more.

I hope this helps. You can ask more questions of me if you want.

Good Luck!

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