A former rheumatologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston is accused of coercing a patient into medically unnecessary exams and then fondling, groping and sexually assaulting her, according to a lawsuit.
The suit, filed on Oct. 10 in Suffolk Superior Court, alleges Derrick Todd used his position as a physician to develop an inappropriate relationship with Marianne DiTrani, his patient.
DiTrani, who publicly identified herself in a statement from her attorneys, first sought out care for her genetic condition that affects her joints and skin in 2022.
She described her condition in the lawsuit as “debilitating” and said she was “desperate for relief” through specialized treatment from a rheumatologist.
‘MEDICALLY UNNECESSARY’ EXAMS
Todd first saw DiTrani as a patient in November 2022 at the Charles River Medical Associates office, also named as a defendant in the suit, the complaint says.
DiTrani said Todd asked her “a series of inappropriate, invasive, and exploitative questions about her appearance, sexual history and sexual activity” during the appointment, according to the lawsuit.
Todd “coerced” her into getting undressed in front of him for a breast examination, the lawsuit said.
DiTrani said the exam was medically unnecessary to treat her condition, and when Todd began the exam he groped and fondled her breasts for “sexual gratification,” according to the lawsuit.
Todd also told DiTrani she needed a gynecological exam and made “sexualized comments” while he rubbed and assaulted her, she said in the lawsuit.
DiTrani said Todd didn’t have any of the medical instruments normally used by a gynecologist during an exam and the two were alone in the exam room so Todd could pressure her, according to the lawsuit.
Over the next two months, DiTrani saw Todd for appointments multiple times, often in the early morning before regular office hours or late in the afternoon as Todd’s last patient of the day, according to the suit.
DiTrani said Todd began texting and calling her outside office hours and on weekends, sometimes with personal messages not related to her medical care.
She said in the lawsuit the messages “were designed to groom (her) and (Todd) also … (led) her to believe that her medical conditions required frequent continued office visits with him.”
McClatchy News reached out to Todd’s lawyer, Ingrid Martin, for comment on Todd’s behalf but has not received a reply.
“To the extent that anyone is bringing claims against him, Dr. Todd believes he has done nothing wrong and will defend against such claims vigorously,” Martin told Boston.com. “We are cooperating fully with any investigation by the Board of Registration in Medicine.”
McClatchy News also reached out to the hospital for comment and awaits a response.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital chief medical officer Charles Morris told Boston.com in a statement the hospital had received two anonymous complaints against Todd in July, and he was placed on administrative leave while the hospital investigated.
In January 2023, DiTrani moved to California for work, and Todd continued to treat her remotely, even prescribing medication, from Massachusetts, she said in the lawsuit.
Six months later, DiTrani said Todd pressured her to move back to Massachusetts and come back into the office for exams, according to the lawsuit.
DOZENS MORE COME FORWARD
In DiTrani’s lawsuit, she alleges Brigham and Women’s Hospital missed warning signs and then concealed Todd’s behavior while he continued to abuse patients.
“We made a decision to terminate his employment after the conclusion of that initial investigation,” Morris said in the statement.
DiTrani’s attorneys, Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane Conway & Wise and Justice Law Collaborative, said in a news release that there may be hundreds of other victims.
Todd was fired by the hospital on July 31, according to the lawsuit.
In September, Todd signed a voluntary agreement with the Board of Registration in Medicine for the state of Massachusetts, agreeing to stop practicing medicine in Massachusetts or any other state, according to a Sept. 5 filing.
In a statement on Oct. 10, law firm Lubin & Meyer announced it was representing at least 34 other women who say Todd gave them medically unnecessary pelvic and breast exams while he was treating them for rheumatological conditions.
DiTrani said even after Todd had been fired and barred from practicing medicine, he continued to contact and harass her until as late at Sept. 29, according to the lawsuit.
A medical malpractice lawsuit against Todd was also filed on Sept. 29 in Middlesex Superior Court, Boston.com reported.
Martin, Todd’s lawyer, told the outlet he had not seen the allegations against him in any lawsuit.
Source: Miami Herald October 11 2023