New York hospital apologizes, sets up $100M survivors' fund after OB-GYN abuse case

Columbia University and its affiliated hospital in New York City have released an apology and response plan after an obstetrician/gynecologist affiliated with the institutions was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually abusing patients.

Robert Hadden, MD, was arrested in September 2020 and convicted in July 2023 for inducing four victims to travel interstate to his medical offices in Manhattan so that he could sexually abuse them. Dr. Hadden carried out the abuse for approximately 25 years from 1987 to 2012 as an obstetrician/gynecologist employed by Columbia University Irving Medical Center. He left the hospital in 2012 and has not worked there as a physician since.

"We owe it to the courageous survivors and the entire Columbia community to fully reckon with Hadden's abuses," said Minouche Shafik, president of Columbia University and Katrina Armstrong, MD, CEO of Columbia University Irving Medical Center. "Columbia failed these survivors, and for that we are deeply sorry."

Under the response plan, Columbia University and Columbia University Irving Medical Center will notify nearly 6,500 former patients of the crimes for which Dr. Hadden was convicted and sentenced; offer survivors the opportunity to participate in a new $100 million settlement fund that will open in January 2024; and launch a center for patient safety and engage with outside experts to review the hospital's current quality and patient safety programs, policies and protocols.

The organizations also said they will undergo an external investigation to examine the circumstances and failures that allowed Dr. Hadden's abuse to continue. Prosecutors said Dr. Hadden honed the techniques of his abuse over the 25 years he practiced and "exploited the power differential inherent in the doctor-patient relationship" to further his abuse under the guise of medical examinations. 

More information about Columbia University and Columbia University Irving Medical Center's survivors' settlement fund and investigation can be found here. Columbia University has previously settled claims with more than 220 survivors of Dr. Hadden's abuse through settlement funds.

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