Last month Nassau County Supreme Court Justice, Jeffrey S. Brown upheld a $1,000,000 jury verdict for a young lady who while visiting an internist, was sexually abused by a physician employed by Caring Medical, LLC. The young lady who suffered from intellectual disabilities, used her cell phone to videotape the physician, Mohan Sharma, M.D., while he masturbated and encouraged her to touch him. Prosecuted criminally, Dr. Sharma successfully argued that all felony and misdemeanor criminal charges against him should be dismissed because he was an "incapacitated person" who was incapable of forming the requisite intent due to an aggressive form of frontal temporal dementia. Can Dr. Sharma be held accountable in a civil lawsuit? Yes.
Since sexual abuse cannot constitute medical treatment for which a doctor can be held liable for malpractice in a civil suit, the jury questions were: 1) did Dr. Sharma "depart from accepted medical standards by practicing medicine while impaired by a cognitive disability?"; and, 2) was the medical group negligent in permitting Dr. Sharma "to practice medicine while impaired by a cognitive disability?" The jury answered yes to both questions and found that the acts and omissions complained of were a substantial cause of the victims post traumatic stress disorder and continuing psychiatric treatment. The Judge also rejected the defendant's argument that an award of $1,000,000 was excessive. Jane Doe v Mohan Sharma, M.D., 2018 WL 6519719