New York City hospitals to pay $71.5M over physician sex abuse scandal

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Two hospitals in New York City — Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital — will pay $71.5 million to 79 patients who reported they were sexually abused by a former gynecologist.

The settlement will be split among the women, who were all patients of Robert Hadden, a former gynecologist who practiced at the facilities.

Mr. Hadden pleaded guilty to a criminal sex act in 2016 in a New York state court. He surrendered his medical license after the guilty plea. Now, Mr. Hadden is awaiting trial in a federal court for alleged sexual abuse from 1993 to 2012.

In the federal court case, Mr. Hadden is accused of sexually abusing dozens of women and girls from 1993 through 2012 at his Columbia University medical practice and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital by using examinations as a cover to engage in sexual abuse that he masked as legitimate medical care. Prosecutors said that Mr. Hadden would send nurses and medical assistants out of exam rooms or intentionally not tell them when he was going into exam rooms so he could be alone with the women.

"Thanks to a group of persistent and courageous women who never stopped seeking justice, Robert Hadden will never set foot in an examination room again," said Adam Slater, a founding partner at Slater Slater Schulman, the law firm representing the women. "At his core, Hadden was an evil man who preyed upon his patients, many of whom entrusted him with their healthcare and that of their unborn children."

The settlement resolves claims from 79 women. The two health systems continue to work to resolve claims from other women who came forward. 

"Every patient deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and to be safe and secure. We are deeply sorry that Hadden violated these fundamental obligations," said Donna Lynne, DrPH, senior vice president and COO of Columbia University Irving Medical Center. "The settlement announced today reflects our determination to support the admirable women who have come forward and called attention to Hadden's abhorrent behavior."

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