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Sexual Misconduct

The Oregon Medical Board recognizes that the practice of medicine entails a unique relationship between the medical professional and the patient. The patient's trust and confidence in a provider’s professional status grants power and influence to the physician, physician associate, or acupuncturist.

Licensees are expected to maintain a professional manner and to avoid behaviors that may be misunderstood by or considered offensive by the patient.  Licensees should take proactive steps to eliminate misunderstandings through clear, appropriate, and professional communication.

Recommended proactive practices:

  1. Provide a professional explanation about each component of examinations, procedures, tests, and other aspects of patient care.
  2. Communicate actions in advance, such as physical touch during an exam.
  3. Have a chaperone present during sensitive examinations and procedures and anytime when requested by the patient.
  4. Be cognizant of sexual or romantic feelings toward a patient or patient representative, and transfer the patient to another health care provider.
  5. Be alert to a patient’s or patient representative’s sexual or romantic feelings; the licensee is responsible for ensuring that the boundaries of the professional relationship are maintained.
  6. Exercise extreme caution in electronic communications due to the high potential for misunderstanding.  The Oregon Medical Board’s Statement of Philosophy on Social Media provides additional guidelines.

Sexual or romantic contact or a suggestion of any sort within a professional relationship, or any such contact outside of the provider-patient relationship is unethical and constitutes unprofessional conduct. “Contact” includes any interaction, whether verbal, physical, or over electronic means.  

- Adopted 1995

- Amended October 3, 2019

"'Sexual misconduct' is behavior that exploits the licensee-patient relationship in a sexual way. The behavior is non-diagnostic and non-therapeutic, may be verbal, physical or other behavior, and may include expressions of thoughts and feelings or gestures that are sexual or that reasonably may be construed by a patient as sexual."

- Oregon Administrative Rule 847-010-0073(3)(b)(G)

Sexual Trauma Support

The Oregon Medical Board takes accusations of sexual misconduct extremely seriously. If you have filed a sexual misconduct complaint with the Board and would like additional resources, please visit the Oregon AttorneyGeneral's Sexual Assault Task Force webpage. There, you will find contact information for nonprofit organizations in your area. Please note that the Sexual Assault Task Force does not operate a shelter or crisis hotline.