It is not a topic that anyone wishes to discuss. Unfortunately, many families are forced to discuss inpatient sexual abuse because their loved ones are victims of healthcare sexual abuse as patients in rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and other health care facilities.
We trust our health care providers to treat us with dignity and respect. We expect our health care providers to care for our physical and emotional health and well-being. We do not expect them to be guilty of sexual assault. Unfortunately, sexual predators prey on vulnerable individuals. Often, individuals admitted for inpatient care suffer one or more conditions that increase their vulnerability and make them targets of sexual predators.
Reporting Incidents of Inpatient Sexual Abuse
The health care industry would prefer to hide allegations of inpatient sexual abuse because it leaves facilities open to liability claims. An inpatient facility may fail to act on a patient’s complaint or attempt to shift the blame to the patient for the sexual assault. Sexual assault in an inpatient facility is never acceptable. The facility should be held accountable for negligence if it committed any wrongdoing that led to the sexual assault of a patient who was in the care of the facility.
The first step is reporting the incident to the administrative staff for the inpatient facility. However, sexual abuse is a crime. You should also report the incident to the local police department. The police department may launch a criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the abuse charges.
Meanwhile, you should also contact a Georgia sexual abuse attorney to discuss your legal options for holding the facility and various individuals responsible for damages in a civil lawsuit. Your attorney can investigate the facility to determine if it or any of its administrators, medical providers, or other staff members are guilty of negligence or wrongdoing.
Examples of Sexual Misconduct Cases Involving Inpatient Facilities
Examples of negligence that may lead to a personal injury lawsuit for inpatient sexual abuse include:
- Negligence in Supervision — Patients in health care facilities are often sexually abused when they are under sedation or anesthesia. Sexual abuse may also occur when patients receive assistance dressing, bathing, or toileting. The abuse may occur when the patient receives care for a wound. Failing to have standard procedures that prohibit one-on-one contact with patients when they are in vulnerable states can lead to increased cases of inpatient sexual abuse.
- Negligence in Hiring Procedures — Facilities must have hiring procedures that include thorough background checks, verification of educational credentials, reference checks, and verification of employment history. Failing to employ reasonable measures to ensure employees do not have a history of sexual abuse or other issues that could indicate a problem.
- Failing to Train — Failing to train employees and administrative staff on the facility procedures for inpatient sexual abuse allegations may also give rise to a negligence claim. The facility should have detailed procedures and policies for responding to a patient’s allegation of sexual abuse. All employees should receive regular training. Employers should also instruct employees on the urgency in reporting and handling abuse allegations.
- Negligence Security Measures — In some cases, sexual assault is committed at an inpatient facility by a visitor. Health care facilities must have and enforce strict policies that limit a visitor’s access to patients. If the facility is negligent in this duty of care, inpatient sexual abuse by an outsider may occur.
The above examples of negligent actions and wrongdoing are only a small sample of a health care facility’s failure to protect patients.
When Should I Call a Georgia Sexual Assault Attorney?
As soon as possible is typically the best answer to that question. The knowledgeable and skilled team of sexual abuse attorneys with The Butler Law Firm offer confidential, free consultations so that you can learn more about your legal options for holding the sexual offender and the health care facility responsible for their actions.
Call 678-940-1444 or contact our office online to request a free case review. You may also chat with a representative 24/7 online for more information.