Can doctors have sexual relationships with patients?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | Doctors/Healthcare Providers

Imagine trusting your health to a medical professional, only to have that trust shattered by inappropriate sexual advances. Sadly, this scenario happens more often than you might think.

Doctors and other health care providers who cross the line into sexual relationships with patients violate ethical standards and state law. In this blog, we explain why these situations are so problematic and the steps you can take to report your doctor.

Sexual misconduct by health care providers

In Florida, doctors cannot use their position to engage patients in sexual situations. This violation is against the law and can lead to severe consequences for the physician.

Because doctors have a lot of power over their patients, the latter may not be able to give free and informed consent to any sexual activity. It is not always clear where the line is, especially now that social media can blur the line.

Doctors maintaining a social media presence have easy access to their patients’ more personal information, which they may not share in an otherwise professional setting. Physicians must still maintain appropriate boundaries when interacting with patients online and adhere to professional ethical guidelines.

Failing to keep these interactions professional is unlawful and can be the basis of a malpractice claim. Patients may report their health care provider to the appropriate health and law enforcement agencies.

Reporting sexual misconduct by a physician

Taking action against a doctor who has crossed professional boundaries is crucial. Victims of physician sexual misconduct may report these violations to the state medical board. If the abuser committed a criminal offense, they may consult with a lawyer and report the incident to the police.