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Brigham and Women’s patient speaks out about suspected sexually abusive behavior from doctor

A woman is speaking out after she filed a lawsuit claiming that a former specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston sexually assaulted her while she was seeking treatment.

Dr. Derrick Todd was a rheumatologist at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital until he was fired on July 31 after an internal investigation forced the hospital to act.

Mimi DiTrani, a former patient, filed a lawsuit in Superior Court in Suffolk County claiming the Todd performed unnecessary vaginal and breast examinations on her when she was only seeing the specialist for rare joint and skin conditions.

“When you trust someone to help you, you see them and you’re very vulnerable, and when they violate that trust and they hurt you instead of heal you, it can be very frightening and not easy to process,” DiTrani said, her voice choked up, as she addressed the media outside Brigham’s main campus in Boston on Tuesday.

“My being here is not for vengeance. It is about taking a side so that those in power aannot continue to abuse under a guise of deception,” she continued.

DiTrani started seeing Todd at Charles River Associates in Framingham in November 2022. During her first visit, Todd asked DiTrani multiple “inappropriate, invasive and exploitative questions about her appearance and sexual history,” according to a press release from her attorneys. Todd also forced her to disrobe in front of him when they were the only two in the room, the release stated.

The doctor then performed medically unnecessary breast and gynecological examinations, which should not be done without someone else present, according to attorneys.

“This should never happen at a hospital. This should be impossible to happen. It should be impossible that a doctor is conducting gynecological examinations without a chaperone in the room,” Brian Perkins, an attorney with Peiffer Wolf and Justice Law Collaborative said. “Somehow the hospital has failed on multiple levels.”

Todd then insisted that DiTrani keep seeing him in person, to which she obliged because he was one of only a few specialists she could see about her condition. DiTtrani also moved closer to Todd’s office so she could received treatment.

However over the course of the visits, DiTrani realized that she was being manipulated by her doctor.

“He wasn’t performing MRIs on my bones and I was suffering in pain, but he was insisting upon continual gynecological exams,” she explained. “I questioned it because I thought maybe I imagined it.”

DiTrani went back for several more visits, usually before office hours or as the last patient of the day, in December 2022 and January 2023, her attorneys said.

Todd would also often call and text DiTrani, usually about topics unrelated to her treatment.

She eventually confronted him and contacted the hospital. At that point, Todd told DiTrani that he was quitting the profession to “spend time with his family.”

On Sept. 5, Todd signed a voluntary agreement to not practice medicine, her attorneys said.

He has also stopped communicating with DiTrani, who hopes that sharing her story will reassure other possible victims that they are not alone.

“There is safety in numbers, and you can speak out,” she said. “You don’t need to be afraid to speak your truth. You deserve, not just my voice, but your own voice, and you have earned the right to be healed.”

DiTrani’s attorneys currently know about at least 32 women who have also filed claims against Todd, but have reason to believe that Todd assaulted well over 100 other victims.

“He’s been practicing here for years,” Paula Bliss, another attorney with Peiffer Wolf said. “There’s no reason to believe that Brigham and Women didn’t have some sorts of red flags with respect to this physician.”

The lawsuit also names Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, Mass General Brigham Community Physicians, Inc., and Charles River Medical Associates, P.C. as defendants.

Source: MassLive October 10 2023

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