When patients visit their family physician, they expect their doctor to act professionally and responsibly. This includes operating with the level and type of care that a reasonable doctor would under similar circumstances. When a doctor conducts an intimate examination of your body, you expect that they are doing it for a medical purpose. However, some doctors take advantage of their position, committing not only medical malpractice but also sexual assault.
A doctor in New Jersey was recently suspended for sexual misconduct with patients. Dr. Alex Sarkodie, of Paterson, New Jersey, owns and operates a private practice in Passaic County. Following allegations that he inappropriately touched female patients, and made sexual comments, the Attorney General's office looked into the matter.
After an investigation, the AG's office alleged that Sarkodie, “engaged in gross or repeated malpractice and professional misconduct that turned his patients and staff into victims of sexual abuse.” The abuse took place in an “escalating pattern of sexual misconduct,” said Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy.
Investigators claimed that Sarkodie groped a medical assistant's breasts under her bra during a medical examination, smacked a female employee on the buttocks, made lewd comments to employees and patients, and even licked a patient's breast during an examination. The sexual abuse apparently got worse over time, from approximately May 2013 to March 2016.
Sarkodie declined to discuss the suspension when contacted by a local newspaper. According to his attorney, Sarkodie will not fight the sexual assault charges, although he filed a formal answer denying the allegations. Sarkodie accepted a suspension; however, he has not admitted to doing anything wrong. He has agreed not to see any patients while the case is being investigated, and his offices have been closed.
The investigation was undertaken by the Enforcement Bureau of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. “Dr. Sarkodie's alleged actions not only show a blatant disregard for the rules of medical practice, they represent a clear and imminent threat to the public," said Acting Director Steve Lee. "By acting quickly to temporarily suspend his license, the Board of Medical Examiners has ensured the public is protected from Dr. Sarkodie while these very serious accusations are pending."
The problem with medical malpractice involving sexual abuse is especially harmful considering the trusting relationship between a doctor and the patient. "Patients who turn to their doctors for medical care deserve to be treated with respect and professionalism, not subjected to degrading assaults by sexual predators hiding behind their medical degrees," read a statement from the AG's office.
Sarkodie began his residency in Newark at the Beth Israel Medical Center in 2000, after graduating from medical school. In addition to Sarkodie's private practice, he is also listed on the pediatrics staff at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center and St. Joseph's Children's Hospital.
If you or a loved one has been injured or emotionally harmed as the result of a negligent doctor, the Gilman & Bedigian team of experienced attorneys is fully equipped to handle your claim. Our staff includes a physician and attorneys with decades of malpractice litigation experience. We focus on getting you compensation for your injuries so you can focus on getting better and moving forward with your life.