A former New Mexico prison physician was sued on December 21, 2015, for the fifteenth time, for alleged sexual assault for allegedly performing unnecessary and intrusive rectal exams on inmates at two New Mexico prisons where he worked from 2010 to 2012.
The same New Mexico physician has been sued by seventy eight inmates for alleged sexual abuse, and by an additional three inmates who allege that they received inadequate medical care in the New Mexico prisons.
Seven of the prison inmate lawsuits that have been filed since 2013 against the prison physician, his former employer, and the private operator of the prisons have reportedly been settled, with some being settled before the defendants responded to the lawsuits.
The former New Mexico prison physician lost his job and had his medical license suspended following a complaint to the local police in July 2012. The New Mexico Medical Board determined in 2013 that the former prison physician had violated five provisions of the New Mexico Medical Practice Act after investigating allegations of sexual misconduct and other wrongful acts against the physician. The Board suspended the physician’s medical license in November 2014 but allowed the physician to apply for reinstatement of his medical license if he completes a full residency program in medicine. The former physician has appealed the Board’s decision.
Some of the lawsuits allege that the defendant physician performed rectal exams on inmates whose only complaints were allergies, sprained ankles, sore shoulders, scrapes, and similar minor complaints that led them to seek medical attention while incarcerated. One inmate alleges that he had a rectal exam when his only complaint was an eye problem. Another inmate claims that he had a rectal exam when his complaint involved his asthma. A third inmate, who was eighteen, was subjected to monthly rectal exams. One inmate’s lawsuit alleges that the defendant prison physician refused to have a third person present during the rectal exams on inmates. The prison inmates reportedly referred to the defendant physician as “Dr. Fingers.”
The rate of digital rectal exams performed by the defendant prison physician reportedly was twice that of other prison physicians who worked in the New Mexico prisons.
The former prison physician’s employer and the prison operator are alleged to have been willfully blind and dumb to the physician’s wrongdoing or otherwise should have known what was occurring. Many of the inmates reportedly feared retaliation if they reported the defendant physician’s alleged sexual misconduct and many reported that they refused to seek follow up care from the defendant physician for their medical conditions.
However, some of the inmates had no choice but to return to the defendant physician for medical attention, including the inmate who filed the December 21, 2015 prison medical malpractice lawsuit, who alleges that he required ongoing medical visits with the defendant prison physician for his diabetes during which the defendant physician would fondle his penis and left testicle and performed a rectal exam using an ungloved finger.
The New Mexico inmate lawsuits allege prison medical malpractice, prison medical negligence, and civil rights violations. The defendant physician denies that he sexually assaulted inmates and that he fondled inmates.
If you or a family member were seriously injured (or worse) as a result of inadequate, untimely, and/or improper medical care while incarcerated in the United States (sometimes referred to as a deliberate indifference claim), you should promptly seek the advice of a local attorney in your state who may investigate your prison medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a claim for injuries due to correctional medical malpractice, if appropriate.
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