The death of a loved one can be a deeply affecting emotional experience. But when the death is caused by someone else's negligence or willful disregard for a person's safety, the pain and suffering experienced by family members may result in a civil cause of action.
A former doctor with UC Berkeley is finding that out, as he is now facing a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of one of his former patients. The doctor, who is currently facing 19 criminal charges resulting from alleged sexual abuse of male patients over the course of six years, has been sued in the death of a 23-year-old former patient. The patient's family claims that the 23-year-old, who was attending graduate school at the University of Southern California at the time of his death, committed suicide after suffering from sexual abuse at the hands of the former doctor. His body was found in Los Angeles County on March 29, and a cause of death is yet to be determined, although suicide is suspected.
The young man's family claims that he had sought medical treatment for a treatable condition, and that the doctor took advantage of him under the guise of normal medical procedures. The lawsuit characterizes the abuse as both physical and psychological.
The loss of a loved one due to this type of activity on the doctor's part, if proven, can result in an award of compensation for the family's pain and suffering. But no matter the monetary sum recovered, this young man's family will never be able to replace his presence in their lives.
Source: SFGate.com, "UC Berkeley doctor sued over patient's death," Henry K. Lee, June 30, 2012