Photos by Ryon Horne / AJC

An AJC National Investigation

Hurt that doesn’t heal

In their own words: Six women. Six stories of pain

It’s the last thing patients expect to happen.

Doctors are supposed to touch during an exam, but not fondle. Psychiatrists should listen to a patient’s darkest secrets, but never parlay the intimacy into a kiss. Anesthesiologists put patients under for surgery, but shouldn’t have their way with them.

When physicians barge through the sacred boundaries of the doctor-patient relationship, the damage to patients can last for years – if not forever. Continue reading

Illustrations by Richard Watkins / AJC

Illustrations by Richard Watkins / AJC

Prestige protects the worst abusers

One doctor assaulted at least 1,200 children. How he avoided punishment for 15 years illustrates how the medical profession looks out for its own.

Caught in the act, Dr. Earl Bradley needed to think fast. “What the hell are you doing, you bastard?” his patient’s mother had screamed when she found Bradley with his hand in her daughter’s diaper. Trailing her to the parking lot, Bradley was insisting she hadn’t seen what she thought she saw. The police were coming. Without a plausible story, Bradley could be in serious trouble. Continue reading

Hurt that doesn’t heal: More from Part 5


Still forgiven

The #MeToo movement and public outcry over Dr. Larry Nassar’s sex abuse have not reformed the system that disciplines doctors.