Negligence: Reporting Duty Overrides Erroneous Sexual Abuse Accusation

August 1, 2011 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance


​The South Carolina Supreme Court affirmed lower court rulings that a physician who misdiagnosed sexual abuse in a four-year-old girl and his practice are not liable to an individual who had been indicted for the criminal offense of abusing the girl.

The defendant physician examined the girl for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute and concluded that she had been sexually abused; he subsequently reported his suspicion to authorities. The plaintiff was then indicted for criminal sexual conduct with a minor, but those charges were later dropped when another doctor found that the girl had not been sexually abused and that the first examination was conducted in a manner that was below accepted standards of care. The doctor who first examined the girl...

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