Columbia University, NewYork-Presbyterian reach $165M sexual abuse settlement over former gynecologist

Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) and NewYork-Presbyterian announced Friday a roughly $165 million settlement with 147 past patients of a former gynecologist accused of sexual abuse.

Robert Hadden, who has not worked as a doctor since 2012, had pled guilty to a single count of a criminal sexual act in the third degree and forcible touching in a deal that cost Hadden his medical license but allowed him to avoid jail time.

He is currently awaiting federal trial on eight counts of bringing women across state lines between 1993 and 2012 for the purpose of sexual abuse.

The healthcare organizations’ new settlement follows a $71.5 million settlement with 79 women who were former patients announced in December.

“We deeply regret the pain that Robert Hadden’s patients suffered and hope that these resolutions will provide some measure of support for the women he hurt,” CUIMC said in a press statement. “All those who came forward should be commended. We are committed to the safety and dignity of every one of our patients and have adopted policies to ensure they are protected and empowered while in our care.”

CUIMC’s patient safety policies currently include chaperones present for several sensitive examinations; mandatory training for OB-GYN physicians, chaperones and clinicians; and hotlines for patient safety and compliance, according to the center’s website.

The DiPietro Law Group, which represents victims of Hadden, said in a statement on its website that “there is more work to be done” as “Columbia University's administration and Board of Trustees have refused to notify thousands of patients about Hadden’s history of exploitation and abuse.”

The firm told The New York Times that it also represents “nearly a dozen additional women who Columbia has refused to address.”

CUIMC and NewYork-Presbyterian’s settlements join other high-profile cases of misconduct and recompense among gynecologists at academic health centers.

In May, the University of California signed off on a $374.4 million settlement with 312 former patients of UCLA Health gynecologist James Heaps, for whom a jury deliberation is currently underway. That arrangement followed two others for $243.6 million and $73 million.

The University of Southern California, meanwhile, greenlighted a total of $1.1 billion in settlements to roughly 17,000 former patients of former gynecologist George Tyndall in 2021.