The Nation and the World

Prominent area doctor accused of sexual assault

In October 2023, Dr. Derrick Todd, a rheumatologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Charles River Medical Associates, was accused of sexually assaulting over 120 women. Dr. Todd allegedly conducted inappropriate pelvic, breast, and rectal exams over the course of several years. He has denied that he has done anything wrong. Dr. Todd has since agreed to stop practicing medicine while this investigation is happening.

According to the Boston Globe, patients of Dr. Todd found him caring and kind at first, until later in their treatment when things took a turn. A former patient of Dr. Todd said that “Every time I saw him he was asking me about my sex life. He would tell me to call him after I had relations with my boyfriend and tell him how it went.” Dr. Todd also practiced primary care medicine and former patients also state that he would persuade them to join his primary care practice. According to The American College of Rheumatology, pelvic and breast exams are not “part of legitimate rheumatology care.”

Dr. Charles Morris, a chief medical officer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said to Forbes, that “providing high quality care in a safe environment is (the hospital’s) top priority. We deeply regret the harm this has caused to our patients and their families.” Additionally, Charles River Medical Associates has said that “they were not aware of any complaints from patients, staff, or any other physicians. We are disappointed and saddened by these disturbing allegations and recognize the courage it takes for these patients to come forward.”

Dr. Todd was the Chief of Clinical Rheumatology at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital in addition to practicing at Charles River Medical Associates for 14 years.

According to the National Library of Medicine, approximately 5% of women and 2% of men have been sexually assaulted by medical professionals. As stated by BRC Initiatives, some ways to protect yourself from sexual abuse by doctors is to ask questions about things you may not understand and to ask for a chaperone to be present in the room. Additionally, before you go to your appointment, you can do some research on what to expect, for example, when a breast or pelvic exam should be done. Behavior of sexual abuse in healthcare includes watching a patient undress, offering certain medical services in exchange for sexual favors, or touching genitals when it is not appropriate.

If you or someone you know has been sexually abused, call 1-800-656-4673 or go online to Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).

Image Source: eMedEvents

Sources: 

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2023/10/17/metro/derrick-todd-rheumatologist-brigham-patients-speak/

https://people.com/boston-doctor-accused-sexually-assaulting-patients-guise-examinations-8363657

https://www.forbes.com/sites/maryroeloffs/2023/10/18/more-than-130-women-sue-boston-doctor-for-sexual-assault/?sh=441caab040be

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8220485/#:~:text=4.5%25%20of%20female%20and%201.4,sexual%20misconduct%20by%20healthcare%20professionals.

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