What constitutes malpractice?
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What constitutes malpractice?
I have been seeing a doctor for 12 years off and on in relation to a chronic condition I have. He was always very kind to me and responsive in terms of appts. with him and calling in scripts for me to feel better. He is approaching 60 years old and was never married with no children and living with several cats so I assumed he was gay. In any event, after a recent text to him inquiring about a script he started flirting with me and texting me, many times a day, over the course of a two week period, as he was away in CA visiting family, and I guess had time on his hands. He asked me repeatedly to get together upon his return, and we set up a date, and although I felt a little weird in doing so, I always had great admiration for him and respect as well. He was to come out to see me and take the train from Manhattan I live on Long Island, NY on the early side so we could have dinner and get to know one another and take the train back home later in the evening. Long story short, he got drunk and we did not finish dinner until near midnight and I felt like I could not put him on the train that late and that condition, nor did I want to have to make him pay for a local hotel, as he paid for dinner and drinks. We ended up having sex that evening and the next day he went back home. The following week his text messages then got few and far between, and I felt like he was ‘done’ with me now and ignoring me. After about a week I sent him a ‘what is going on’ text, as I do not sleep around and do not have one night stands and was shocked this was happening to me. He gave me some BS text back that he was going through a ‘rough patch’ and is not ‘done’ with me and will be in touch, and to not feel nave and stupid. As of this time, it is about three weeks since he replied to my text,I have not heard a word from him. I am now convinced he just said that as a way to ‘ease away from me’ and thinking this was better than just disappearing all together and not responding to me at all and maybe getting very angry and upset. I feel stupid and hurt, and I trusted him immensely and never thought a doctor would be capable of this behavior, with his patient. I am now thinking of taking this further and seeking counsel, as perhaps he is doing this to other patients as well, as he told me his previous fianc they never married and broke up ten years agowas a former patient. What do you think?
Asked on January 30, 2019 under Malpractice Law, New York
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 2 years ago | Contributor
It is not malpractice, since it is not related to medical care. It very well may be a violation of his professional ethics, since they generally bar relationships with patients, so you could report him to the state's medical licensing board, which may investigate and possible sanction or punish him. However, a violation of an ethical rule is not something you can sue him over; all you can do is report him.