Prominent Towson gynecologist, Dr. John Yacoub, has had his medical license suspended in an emergency action by the Maryland Board of Physicians. This suspension is in response to disturbing information revealed by an investigation by local law enforcement. As of the writing of this post, there are no criminal charges yet filed against Dr. Yacoub.
On September 23, a DEA raid of the Yacoub residence found prescription bottles with patient’s names on them, and cocaine residue. Further investigation revealed that Yacoub’s cell phone contained photos of female genitalia. At least two photos included a gloved hand close to the genitalia. You can read more about this investigation and about Yacoub’s response in this Baltimore Sun article.
Obviously this is deeply disturbing news, both to the community, but especially to patients at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center and Saint Agnes Hospital, where Yacoub has practiced for many years. Locals are reminded of this February, when Dr. Nikita Levy was found to have been making video recordings during patient examinations.
Concerns over this sort of behavior have prompted us to consider ways you can tell if your gynecologist has crossed a line. Here are four points to be aware of.
1. Inappropriate touching.
This may seem obvious, but it’s common to second guess yourself or have doubts about your experience. It can be difficult to determine during a pelvic exam if touching has crossed a line. Some warning signs include the doctor not wearing gloves or spending too long examining breasts or genitals. If a doctor seems to intentionally stimulate nipples or clitoris it has certainly gone too far.
Remember that your body is your own and if you ever feel uncomfortable you have the right to tell the doctor to stop. You should be in control.
2. Unexpected behavior.
If a doctor seems to be behaving in an unusual way, such as by using unfamiliar or unusual equipment, you have a right to know what is going on. If you notice your doctor using a cell phone or interrupting the exam for unexpected reasons, there may be cause for concern.
A doctor should be willing to discuss what needs to be done and how. If reasons sound fishy, it may be time to talk to somebody about it. If your doctor is using a cell phone during a procedure, you have reason to be concerned.
3. Inappropriate conversation.
Inappropriate conversation can include flirty discussion about your appearance. More obvious forms of conversation include any sexual discussion, or a comment along the lines of how much he or she enjoys examining, seeing, or touching you. If your doctor asks personal questions which aren’t health related, that may be a warning sign.
Obviously this requires a judgement call. A good doctor may ask questions about your sex life in order to understand your history, but some questions can go too far. If your doctor ever asks a question that makes you uncomfortable, ask why he or she wants to know, or say you don’t feel comfortable answering.
4. Coercion, threats, or blackmail.
If the doctor says or does something that makes you uneasy and threatens you in any way, that has crossed a line. If a doctor asks you to be discreet about something, you should be very concerned. If a physician tells you to lie about what has happened or threatens to tell a spouse a lie about your own behavior, that doctor has crossed the line.
If you feel your rights have been infringed upon by a gynecologist, it’s important that you speak out. If you have been victimized it is likely this doctor will victimize other women as well. It may feel embarrassing, but remember that it is in no way your fault.
If you need to speak with a lawyer to discuss your rights and how to move forward, our experienced and compassionate team is ready to hear from you. We have served women who have been victimized by medical professionals. We understand how difficult this can be. Your conversation will be free and confidential.