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Doctor’s affair with patient found to be form of malpractice

Patients of doctors all over the nation seek medical attention in order to receive treatment. New Jersey residents know that patients develop a level of trust with physicians and do not expect that a medical doctor would worsen their situation or put their life at risk. When medical malpractice occurs, the patient may suffer serious injuries or even death. The negligence of a doctor or other medical professional could alter not only the life of the patient but the lives of the patient’s loved ones.

A recent court case found that it was medical malpractice for a family doctor to have an affair with a married patient. He was treating her for anxiety and depression. The affair lasted for about nine months. She later told her husband about the indiscretion, who subsequently sought divorce. The court found that the patient shared some of the fault because both parties allowed the affair to continue.

The patient sued the doctor for malpractice arguing that her romantic feelings were a result of a shift of emotions, which interfered with the treatment she was seeking. The jury found that the physician breached his professional duty, and the patient received a reduced award because she was found to be partially liable.

A patient who suffers injuries like this may have grounds to file a medical malpractice suit. Compensation awarded from the claim can go towards medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Injuries suffered due to a negligent doctor do not always take the form of physical damage or injury. A patient could be damaged emotionally by the actions of a physician. Emotional distress, such as anxiety and depression, could severely alter or damage the mental health of a patient.

Source: New Jersey Herald, “NY court says affair is medical malpractice,” Michael Virtanen, Nov. 29, 2012

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