Appendix 59a - Healing Staff

by Michael Greger, MD and United Progressive Alumni

[ Medical School Resources | Appendices | Discussion ]

"With the exception of lawyers, there is no profession which considers itself above the law so widely as the medical profession." - Samuel Hopkins Adams

From the book Becoming Doctors: "Obviously, doctors are not Boy Scouts; neither are they dastardly villains. They are human beings merely, living in a system of man's creation that tends to give them rather disastrously free license to fulfill their own needs and greeds, regardless of the cost to others."[675]

Unconditional Love

"Defrocked Psychotherapist Charged with Sexual Assault of Female Patients" headlined the Ottawa Sun, March 12,1998:

Former doctor John Orpin, 59, spanked, beat, fondled, tied up, kissed and had oral sex and intercourse with female patients, all in the name of psychotherapy. Orpin told his patients that having sex with him or being assaulted would improve their emotional state....

Orpin is accused of forcing a 21-year-old woman to perform sexual acts on him. He told another woman who went to him for help for her failing marriage that she wasn't ready yet, put her over his knee, lifted her skirt, pulled down her panties and spanked her, finally having intercourse with her. In each case Orpin told his patients not to tell anyone, saying it would be 'detrimental to the process.'[676]

He faced 19 charges from five former patients. The story was followed up a month later in Toronto's Saturday Star:

Former psychiatrist John Orpin was found guilty on 13 sexually related charges, including 5 counts of sexual assault and 4 counts of assault against female patients while he was practicing medicine. Testimony in the trial included incidents that, while the women were under [hypnosis], Orpin beat, raped and sodomized them. Some were shackled to a wall and beaten with a belt. One woman was anally raped. Orpin told his patients his penis was a 'healing staff' and that anal rape was 'unconditional love.' He asked to do community service instead of jail....[677]

I will keep pure and holy my life and art - Hippocrates

Then there was Dr. Nork, orthopedic surgeon described by a California Superior Judge as, "an ogre, a monster feeding on human flesh."[678] Then Leo:

Connie Blackstone, a married Ohio woman in her mid twenties, found herself severely depressed after the death of her mother. She turned to Dr. Leo Nierras, a psychiatrist, for help.... During a session with Blackstone, the doctor exposed himself to her and told her, as he masturbated, that he could be her doctor and her lover at the same time. Then he fondled and pinched the woman's breast.[679]

An article in the Humanist points out that pilots, FBI agents, Peace Corps workers, and many other critical professionals must undergo extensive background investigations. "The failure to do background checks on med school applicants is scandalous."[680]

White-Coat Crime[681]

In 1973 the American Journal of Psychiatry reported that almost one in five gynecologists responding anonymously to a survey admitted to sexual contact with their patients.[682] Even if the physicians are caught, the likelihood of them losing their license to practice medicine is vanishingly small. In Maryland, for example, a gynecologist was convicted of forcible rape. Not only was his sentence suspended, the Maryland Commission on Medical Discipline actually allowed him to continue to practice.[683]

There have been a few exceptions. California gynecologist Dr. Ivan C. Namihas: "It took 22 years of complaints against Namihas, who is known to have mistreated or sexually abused patients in at least 140 cases, before the state revoked his license in 1992."[684] In Oklahoma, Ob/Gyn Joe Bills Reynolds lost his license in the Spring of 1990, two years after his hospital privileges had been suspended and his malpractice insurance canceled, and more than six months after, "his wife died on his [own] in-office operating table from massive blood loss during liposuction."[685]

One doctor writes, "My license to drive says I can only drive a car. It even goes as far as to say I can't drive a truck. But my medical license says I can do any damn thing I want, under any guise."[686]

How doctors continue to get away with it - Appendix 59b.



[675] Haas, Jack Becoming Doctors The Professionalization of Medical Students Greenwich Jai Press, Incorporated, 1987:124.

[676] "Sexual Assault." Psychiatric and Psychological Crimewatch Report 1998(May).

[677] Ibid.

[678] "Tales from the Dark Side of Medicine" Medical Economics 19 October 1998:116-120.

[679] Warner, J. "Who's Protecting Bad Doctors?" Ms. 1994(January/February):56-59.

[680] Bonsteel, A. "Behind the White Coat." Humanist 57(1997):15.

[681] Inlander, CB. This Won't Hurt (And Other Lies My Doctor Tells Me) Allentown: People's Medical Society:, 1998.

[682] Altucher, B. "Women's Health, Men's Work." Health 22(1990):60.

[683] Pekkanen, J. MD: Doctors Talk about Themselves New York: Delacorte Press, 1988:253.

[684] Warner, J. "Who's Protecting Bad Doctors?" Ms. 1994(January/February):56-59.

[685] Ibid.

[686] Ibid.



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