VA Doctor Sentenced In Sexual Assault Cases
Dr. Jonathon Yates was sentenced to 25 years in prison after it was revealed that he sexually assaulted at least 62 veterans during examinations over an 11-month span. This resulted in 56 lawsuits filed; each victim received about $180,000 as a result of the sexual assault.
While the victims were obviously not pleased with how low the settlement award was, the main goal of the legislation was achieved. Yates had his medical license revoked and he is now facing a lengthy prison sentence for his conduct.
Nonetheless, the case may not yet be over. Attorneys for the victims want to investigate the VA hospital that hired Yates. They believe there were allegations of sexual assault prior to the issues at the VA. If so, then the VA administration is culpable for placing their patients in harm’s way.
Regulatory and hiring failures
Yates allegedly sexually assaulted both men and women, all of whom were veterans. However, there is evidence that Yates had a similar complaint against him from his previous employment at another hospital.
To be sure, complaints against the federal government are not the same as complaints against private citizens. In addition to caps on damages, the VA long enjoyed immunity from any and all tort lawsuits filed by soldiers who sought care from their facilities. Under the previous administration, those laws were overturned and now former military personnel can file medical malpractice lawsuits against the VA. Nonetheless, they generally recover far less than they would in cases against private hospitals.
The VA has the same responsibility to vet doctors prior to hiring. A hospital that hires a disturbed or incompetent doctor has a nondelegable duty of care to their patients. If they place a patient in harm’s way, they are accountable. However, accountability works a lot differently in the VA than it does elsewhere.
Yates was DO or a doctor of osteopathy who used osteopathic manipulation to help patients relieve pain in their muscles, joints, and more. Such doctors rely on positioning the body, stretching the body, and other techniques to relieve pain in problem areas. The method is considered an alternative to other pain management methods, similar to chiropractic techniques.
Doctors who molest patients often rely on the patient’s lack of understanding concerning medical techniques. Larry Nassar, the now-infamous former doctor of the USA Olympic gymnastics program was indicted on several counts of conducting several invasive and medically unsound procedures on female (often underage) patients. Similar accusations were made of a former USC doctor. The university is now paying over $1 billion to survivors.
Talk to a Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you feel uncomfortable due to the conduct of a doctor, talk to a medical malpractice attorney immediately. Chances are, you’re not the only one to make such a claim. Call MichieHamlett today to discuss your experience with passionate legal counsel who will advocate for your interests.