Did this doctor take advantage of me?

When I was eighteen I was transferred from a children's hospital to an adult hospital with a new endocrinologist. During the first visit he did a brief physical exam. This entailed the usual such as, checking my injection sites, feet, blood pressure etc. One thing that seemed off was he asked to see my breasts and genitals, not a pelvic exam or anything just looking. His reasoning for this was that some diabetics who are diagnosed young have "developmental disruptions" his words, not mine. He did ask permission but seemed to push me even more when I asked why it was necessary. This happened over three years ago now, but now that I have been to several other endocrinologists since, and never had this "exam" I have been questioning whether he took advantage of me or not? Has anyone else had a similar request from their endocrinologist?

I think that's actionably weird. I'd call the police or district attorney immediately. I've had diabetes since 1984 and have had exactly zero exams of that nature from endos. They look at numbers and blood test results. 3 years is a pretty long time but you may still be able to sue him and, if I were in your shoes (not that many people are harassing 45 year old men but I have a teenaged daughter and deal with some unusual cases at work...) I would find out what the statute of limitations is and maybe talk to a lawyer about going after him. If this is his modus operandi, it would be hard, but you may be able to shut him down.

While this event sounds like it made you uncomfortable, I don't know if his actions are considered unethical--that would depend on your symptoms, your medical history, and this doctor's expertise. There are certainly valid medical reasons to do visual examinations. Some doctors have more than one specialty and he may have acting within his scope of practice. During my residency in psychology, my site supervisor was board certified as a psychologist, medical psychologist, ob/gyn, and general practitioner--yes, board certifications in each. So in short, although it sounds unusual, he may have had a valid reason. A possible route to learn more would be to have your GP request your medical records from 3 years ago. You can ask your GP if and why a visual examination was necessary. If this doesn't provide a valid reason, you could file a complaint/concern with the state board that licenses the doctor in question. They have the ability to investigate this issue and even take corrective steps if needed.

The reasoning he gave at the time was that he needed to make sure that I had "developed properly" through puberty. I had never had any complaints or conditions that would suggest that I had not, and he was aware that I see a ob/gyn yearly. To be honest, at the time it was less about what he was asking and more about how he approached the situation. He seemed persistent and when I questioned the necessity of the exam he acted as though I was being difficult, and seemed disproportionately annoyed. I felt very pressured. Outside of this situation his disposition was very kind and patient. My concern is not necessarily for myself, its done and over with, I just worry that maybe he has done this or worse with others. Thank you for your input, I will contact my GP and ask his opinion as you suggested.

No never, not from ANY Dr, but my Ob/Gyn, and the surgeon who did my breast surgery. Yes I think it was a unnecessary request, and I REALLY question the medical necessity behind it. Sorry this happened, but I'd file a complaint with the states board of medicine.

Regardless of whether it was medically necessary or not, his approach made you feel uncomfortable and pressured, and I imagine it is likely if you felt that way other young girls/women would and might do too.

Please report this inappropriate exam to the hospital's administrator, the medical board, DA & the police. Tell the hospital administrator & medical board you'll be following up to learn what action is taken & you're considering legal action.

Was a nurse present during the exam? Nothing about diabetes causes developmental problems requiring a breast or genital exam. He's the one with a "developmental disruption." This man's a deviant & it's an abuse of power to force a woman to be examined like this when there's no medical necessity.

Kudos for going forward & helping other women!

Most states, you can go online to the state board of licensing, type in a practioner's name and see if there has ever been any complaint or legal action taken against them. But I'd definately recommend reporting it to the board of medicine. That was TOTALLY inappropriate. Regardless of what his "other" credentials might be...he was seeing you in regards to your diabetes, not Gyn issues or developmental disruptions.

I haven't ever trained new physicians, but I've trained plenty of new psychologists, and some times doctors have really stupid ideas(just read through this site). Based on the information you have provided, I do think the doctor's actions are questionable, but I can still think of reasons this doctor could use to justify his actions. I know that you already said you are going to talk to your GP, which I think is the safest route for you to remain confidential and get good advice, but I also want to respond to some of the other advice you have been given.

1. Going to the police. The police will take your complaint, but there will be virtually NO confidentiality and the DA will be unlikely to do anything considering you wrote that he asked you, who I presume were a legal adult at the time, for permission. I believe DAs don't consider going after unethical actions unless they are also illegal. Because their is little to no confidentiality with the police, the chances of you be embarrassed and harassed, or the complaint being completely mishandled, goes up in my opinion.

2. Some have also suggesting suing the doctor, but this costs money and you have to have really solid ground to be successful. If he is a peeping tom, then he would not have recorded his actions and it would be a case of your word against his. If he had violated others, then you would have to find those people and that would be really hard to do.

3. One other suggestion was to go through the hospital ethics committee, which typically is a multidisciplinary team including a chaplain. The good side of this is that you can remain perfectly confidential and they will have likely have personally interacted with this doctor and thus have may some idea about his character. The bad side is that they likely know this doctor thus will be biased and they don't really control his ability to practice. This doctor can just quit and move away which saves the hospital embarrassment and so they may find the reasons to dismiss the complaint.

4. On the other hand, the state medical board that licenses this doctor has complete control over his license and will not be biased by a personal relationship. They have full authority granted by the state to conduct investigations when needed. Also, they have the most experience with handling complaints and thus will likely give you the best outcome--in my opinion. If they find this doctor in error, then legal action could be taken by you and you will have solid ground backed by the highest authority in the state. His malpractice insurance company would likely be knocking on your door to settle before being taken to court.

My main concern in suggesting looking into suing him is that if it was 3 years ago, there may be a statute of limitations that may run out while taking the other actions you suggest. I am not sure that taking that sort of action would make the orginal poster feel that much better however if beating the statute is necessary, it may be prudent to investigate her chances more quickly.

Part of me would want to get an axe handle and break his kneecaps but that has it's own set of risks...

Sexual Misconduct has a statute in most states of 5 years. However, I would make sure to get all medical records from three years ago and make sure that it is not stated in them about the exam. If the exam is stated and it explains what was done then you will have hard evidence of the inappropriate behavior. Just an idea but I would report him to medical board, hospital, police, and the DA and at least make a complaint to protect others from this happening. There is no reason for him to have done a visual inspection and been forceful about it as diabetes does not complicate the development of breasts or private parts that I know of and I can find no medical documentation that states that it does.

How do you feel about this? Yes, it is important to hold people who hold trusted positions accountable for their behavior. But this is also about your life. About what will make you a whole happy person.

Unless you really felt violated by the situation, I'm not sure I agree with the general consensus here that it was so terribly inappropriate. Maybe I'm just an optimist and don't understand the situation you describe very well-- but I do have several doctors in my family-- and part of their job is giving patients thorough physical exams. I've certainly had to allow doctors to examine parts of me that I wasn't thrilled about, and that I didn't understand the necessity of, but I guess I just always assumed they were doing their job, and doing it thoroughly...

I actually think you make a very good point! Were it my daughter, I'd want to hurt him... badly. And to be fair to you, I can see how you could be right about suing this doctor. An experienced attorney may be able to walk her through the ideal process of exposing this doctor as an abuser or at the minimum as incompetent.

I agree with you 100%. This situation should have never happened. The minute she protested the examination, even IF the doctor did have a valid reason (big "if" I know), that doctor should have said, "Would it make you more comfortable if we have one of our female doctors conduct the examination?"

+1, Sam!

These are serious questions that should be taken to the doctor and the facility. I am sad to read that folks are ready to "shut him down". The hospital I found myself in when I was dx'd at 18 did an entire physical exam and that was decades ago. I never thought to sue the doc or the facility for checking me over beyond my dka.

Before you go accusing a doctor for abuse, you should speak to the hospital administration. Some hospitals require the patient to receive a full physical. There are grade sights you can look for on the web and see if this doc has other complaints and what type of grade his patients give him.


  • She was violated

I experienced a similar unfortunate incident many years ago when I was very young, where a doctor in a university student medical center, in the guise of an examination, touched me in an inappropriate manner
No nurse
was present. I promptly told him 2 take his hands off me, in not such
nice language, I do not proudly admit. I wish that I would have said something to someone, other than my boyfriend at the time, who wantedto beat him up. I did not want him To go to jail for assault, so we left it alone. However, at the time, think it was 1976, women were not encouraged to report sexual improprities taken by superiors nor medical personnel;and not much media
attention was given to abuse. I should have said something, because he could and probrably did touch his female patients, all university students, in the same way. I do not know if the statue of limitations will make your pursuit of a lawsuit viable, AS Acid said. But do mention this to someone in charge. Sam, this young woman WAS violated, and this dr. needs to be stopped from doing this again.

God Bless,

Respectfully, I think that she is the only judge of that

I'm trying to remember exactly, but from ages about 12-14 my pediatric endos preformed routine genital exams for each visit. My parents were present and I never felt uncomfortable.

I agree it seems kind of fishy at 18. Especially if you felt uncomfortable about it. You might want to google his name and see if anyone has reported other incidents. Even if you decide not to report, find places online you where you can anonymously leave a detailed account, so others might know to avoid this guy. Or report if they found themselves in the same position.

Doctors don't have to follow precise guidelines for standard of care. A doctror checked my prostate when I was 18 at a pre-employment physical. That's certainly not in the standard of care for an 18 year old, but it doesn't mean he was a pervert, maybe he was just thorough, maybe a loved one of his died of prostate cancer and he had devoted his entire life to fighting that disease, who knows, he was acting within the scope of practice of a doctor examining a patient, performing an examination-- perhaps above and beyond the standard of care. Not to say that there is any comparison to that and the OPs story. I just don't think it is reasonable to automaticaly assume that a doctor examining a patient's sensitive areas is abusive. You can absolutely say no, at any time, to anything any doctor proposes.

I agree the ONLY doctors I have ever have want to view breast or genitals was my ob/gyn and surgeon for the lump that was removed. A GP may do such an exam IF you are not seeing a gyn for the female parts but I've never had a Dr in the treatment of Diabetes want to see how developed or not I was in the female parts. We can debate whether their was medical necessity in it or not, but the fact remains IF it made the OP feel uncomfortable, taken advantaged of, or perhaps abused in anyway then she should and needs to report it. Dr's are in a position of trust, and if they use their authority or position as a means of abuse, fear, intimidation, taking advantage of, etc. Then that is unacceptable.