Practices must take sexual-misconduct allegations seriously

As of 2004, Roger Ian Hardy, a 45-year-old renowned Massachusetts fertility doctor, had accumulated accusations of sexual misconduct dating back to his college years at Princeton, followed by complaints leveled against him involving two different physician's practices and three instances of alleged sexual misconduct toward patients.

Yet no one picked up on the pattern of abuse, according to an article from The Boston Globe.

It took several more years of suspicious behavior and reports that went nowhere until Hardy faced medical board investigators in 2013, accused of assaulting a patient and telling her his "treatment" of sexual stimulation was necessary to promote pregnancy.

Faced with a long list of witnesses ready to attest to his decades of abusive behavior, Hardy ultimately surrendered his Massachusetts medical license and relocated to Thailand. With Hardy's assets also in Thailand, and more difficult to access, his former employer stands to face serious financial consequences if legal action surrounding the complaints is successful, the Globe reported.

The newspaper investigation attempted to uncover how such horrific misbehavior could persist so long. "Over three decades, more than a dozen people in positions of authority--college administrators, hospital supervisors, clinic owners, medical colleagues, and regulators--were told, with various degrees of specificity, of Hardy's alleged sexual assaults and his inappropriate contact with patients, including some who were sedated."

Once the allegations finally came to light, other doctors admitted they refused to refer patients to Hardy and nurses recounted watching him closely and even pushing themselves between Hardy and patients he was touching inappropriately.

In addition to robust hiring and complaint-investigation policies, practices should follow strict chaperone policies to ensure patient comfort and protect themselves and their physicians from accusations of wrongdoing, FiercePracticeManagement reported previously.

To learn more:
- read the article