Caption

How well does Georgia protect its patients against sexually abusive doctors?

Only a few states have anything close to a comprehensive set of laws that put patients first in cases where they are sexually abused by doctors. Georgia is not one of them. 

That’s according to a groundbreaking national investigation into doctors and sexual abuse by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The newspaper’s findings explain how it’s possible for a doctor who has served time for sexually abusing patients to be able to continue seeing patients: In most states, there’s no law against it. 

To determine the best and the worst states for patient protection in these cases of abuse, the AJC assessed all 50 states and the District of Columbia by examining five categories of laws in every state and giving each a score up to 100 possible points. The categories were transparency, duty-to-report, board composition, criminal acts and discipline laws. 

Each state was then given an overall score based on the five categories.  

With an overall score of 55, Georgia ranked No. 34 in the nation. The lax laws can have repercussions for patients. In Georgia, the newspaper uncovered a case where a doctor who was sentenced to four years in prison after he was found guilty of writing more than 120 illegal prescriptions in exchange for sexual favors was allowed to return to practice. 

Read more about that case here. 

No state met the highest bar in every category, the AJC found. But Delaware did the best with a score of 91 points overall and also scored the best nationally in the duty-to-report category. 

The worst state for patient protection against sexually abusive doctors is Mississippi, according to the AJC study, with an overall score of 37 points. 

Eight other states also scored less than 50 out of 100 points. 

Here’s a breakdown of Georgia's scores: 

Transparency: 68 

Duty-to-report: 48 

Board composition: 60 

Criminal acts: 28 

Discipline laws: 70 

Read more about how Georgia scored on each category and how the scores for each category were calculated at doctors.ajc.com.

 

RELATED NEWS:

- Visit doctors.ajc.com to read the entire series, including cases from every state, tips for staying safe and more.

Ga. doctor back at work after prison term in drugs-for-sex case 

50-state review uncovers how patients are vulnerable to abusive physicians

How to report sex abuse by your doctor and other patient resources

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Most read

  1. 1 AJC Election Results: Georgia Primary May 22 2018
  2. 2 Georgia Primary Elections 2018: Results and news coverage
  3. 3 Georgia Election: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic primary

More from AJC