Is there a recourse for a medical professional if a patient behaves inappropriately? (I would call it sexual assault but to be honest I don't know what would and wouldn't qualify for that definition - please feel free to edit the question title as appropriate).

Specific example: female medical professional, the patient shoves his hand inside her top and into her bra, then grabs the shirt front preventing her from moving away. Assume that it doesn't repeat, only happens once with that patient.

  • Is there any legal remedy to be sought against the patient? Criminal or civil?

  • If this sort of thing happens regularly at the hospital, is there any legal remedy against the hospital?

I'm not sure if jurisdiction matters, but let's say NY, NJ or CT states in US.

1 Answer 1


There are no small sexual assaults

Indecent assault/sexual assault/sexual touching

Different jurisdictions have different definitions but, wherever you are, the behavior you describe is a criminal offense and the appropriate course of action is to report it to both your employer and the police. The fact that the perpetrator is under the professional care of the victim does not change this although, if the positions were reversed, this would be an aggravating factor.

That is, assuming you are willing to make a statement to the police and, ultimately, testify before a court. It may not come to that - the police may not press charges.

You can also civilly sue for the damage you have suffered.

Work Health and Safety

Your employer has an obligation to provide a reasonably safe workplace.

If this is a not uncommon occurrence then they should have analyzed the risk and determined appropriate mitigation strategies and trained you in these. Have they?

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