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AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Georgia patient accuses doctor of sexually assaulting her in Columbus hospital

A New York doctor was in court in Georgia this week to face charges that he sexually assaulted a patient while practicing at a hospital in Columbus, according to a report in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

Dr. Samir Yousef, who was ordered Tuesday to be held on a $200,000 bond, is accused of improperly touching a patient in 2015. The Ledger-Enquirer  said the victim reported that the doctor “touched, pinched and played with her private parts multiple times."

The Ledger-Enquirer said the doctor was indicted in August on one count of "sexual assault of a detainee or patient at a hospital." The alleged incident took place at St. Francis Hospital in Columbus.

The Georgia Composite Medical Board has taken no public disciplinary action against Yousef's license, according to public records on the board's website.

Yousef did not know about the charges until he was stopped in an airport, attorney Doug Peters told the AJC in an interview on Wednesday.

“He was unaware that any indictment had been returned, and last month he was returning from Australia visiting his sister and as he flew in through the Los Angeles airport, he was informed that charges had been filed against him, and that was the first he was ever aware it,” Peters said.

Peters, a Decatur attorney, is representing Yousef on the criminal charges.

The doctor has “passionately maintained his innocence,” Peters said.

In addition to the criminal charges, Peters said, the doctor is also being sued over the allegations.

Peters said the doctor is a resident of Rochester, New York and is licensed to practice in New York, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia. He said he works on contract as a hospitalist in various states. Hospitalists are internists who care for patients while they are in the hospital, since most primary care doctors do not come to hospitals to care for their patients who have been admitted for treatment.  

Peters said the doctor had worked in Georgia before at Emory University and at Mayo Clinic in Waycross. 

According to the Ledger-Enquirer's coverage, the prosecutor in the criminal case said the doctor entered the patient's room at the Columbus hospital with no nurse and closed the door, but he did not log the visit in records.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last year published an award-winning series documenting sexual abuse by thousands of physicians. The national investigation uncovered a system that routinely allowed doctors who are disciplined for sex abuse of patients to stay in practice. The investigation began after an AJC reporter found that two-thirds of the Georgia physicians sanctioned for sexual misconduct did not lose their licenses.

This week, the AJC launched the first installment of a special podcast that extends its investigation of the topic. The Breakdown podcast called "Predator, M.D." tells the story of a Fulton County doctor with a dark side who made the examining room a dangerous place.


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About the Author

Carrie Teegardin is on the investigative team. She is a graduate of Duke University and has won numerous national journalism awards.