Sunday, August 10, 2003

An alarming number of Massachusetts psychiatrists have been having sex with their patients

Boston magazine has an article about the fact that an " alarming number of Massachusetts psychiatrists have gotten caught again and again having sex with some of this society's most vulnerable people: their own patients." First seen in the June 2003 issue, the article has now appeared online. (Now with an updated link)

Highlights/lowlights include:

Of the Massachusetts doctors who have lost their licenses for sexual misconduct with patients, almost half — 26 — were psychiatrists. And all but one were men. The exception: Dr. Margaret Bean-Bayog, who resigned her medical license in 1992 after a Harvard medical student she had treated — and with whom, by many accounts, she had shared intense sexual fantasies — committed suicide.

It is interesting to note that only about 7% of physicians are psychiatrists, but in Massachusetts, the abuse rate is fourteen times higher than that for conventional doctors. You would think it would be just seven times higher, but these are male doctors, vs the entire male and female physician population. Roughly 3.5% of all physycians are male psychiatrists, who account for about 50% of the physicians removed due to sexual abuse.

And they don't know why this is so. Despite apparent intensive training in school that this is not a good idea. And Boston is one of the psych training capitols of the world.

Update But this paper shows 37,838 psychiatrists in 1999, vs 797,634 total physicians in the US for the same year. which puts the percentage of physicians who are also psychiatrists at 4.7 percent. Meaning that if Massachusetts follows the national average, psychiatrists are, in general, more than ten times more likely to be a sexual offender compared to your average physician.

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