Florida doctors and medical staff are prohibited from sexual misconduct with patients. Florida Statute 458.329 outlines the grounds for disciplinary action against medical professionals in the state. The statute states that it’s illegal for a medical professional to engage or attempt to engage a patient in sexual activity.
Reporting sexual misconduct
A patient should report sexual misconduct by doctors or other medical staff as soon as possible. However, a patient might not feel safe or comfortable enough to report the incident immediately. What’s important is that the patient does eventually come forward to make a report – the sooner the better.
Reporting sexual misconduct can possibly help protect patients from the medical professional accused. The sooner the report, the easier it is to collect evidence and begin an investigation.
Contact the medical facility
Inform the medical facility of the sexual misconduct activity. The facility should have a patient relations department or a similar department for handling patient complaints. You might also have to speak with the facility administration or the medical director.
File a complaint
After informing the facility of the incident, file a complaint with the Florida Department of Health (DOH). This is a formal complaint against the medical professional who committed the misconduct.
The Florida Healthcare Complaint Portal is the website dedicated to submitting complaints online. The DOH will investigate your complaint.
Contact the board of medicine
File a complaint with the Florida Board of Medicine. The Board controls the regulation and licensure of medical professionals in Florida. They will investigate your claim if the allegations are against a licensed doctor.
Contact the police
Contact the police if a crime – such as rape or physical abuse – occurred during the incident. The statute of limitations for reporting sexual crimes in Florida depends on the circumstances and the victim’s age.
Reporting sexual misconduct is often emotionally draining. Emotional support from friends, family or a support group can possibly make the process easier.