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Prison doctor sued by 3 dozen New Mexico inmates

On our Albuquerque medical malpractice blog, we have described several different kinds of doctor errors and negligent physicians that people in our area might come across. One that we haven't devoted a great deal of time to, however, is the welfare of prisoners when it comes to medical care. It goes without saying that their voices are perhaps more difficult to hear when it comes to reporting incidents of medical malpractice.

However, that is what several male inmates at two New Mexico correctional facilities are alleging. They say a prison doctor sexually abused them, often by performing unnecessary digital rectal exams. The doctor denies wrongdoing and says that the inmates are making claims that won't hold up in court.

The state medical board suspended the doctor earlier this year after getting input from two physicians on the man's situation. One of the doctors concluded that at least one patient had sexual contact with the doctor and that he had committed sexual abuse. The other doctor, however, said that the doctor's treatment had been appropriate -- despite the many records of patient complaints. He based this findings on the fact that many inmates told him that the doctor had examined them while not wearing gloves, which he said was unlikely to have happened at a prison medical facility.

About three dozen former and current inmates have joined the suit. Regardless of the eventual resolution, a physician in this situation might find it difficult to practice medicine in New Mexico in the future.

Source: Albuquerque Journal, "Feds investigating doctor accused of abusing inmates," Scott Sandin, Oct. 26, 2013

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