Dr. Kevin M. Cahill, 86, is a well-known New York physician who has treated many notable patients, including President Regan and Pope John Paul II. Although a highly respected member of the community and medical profession, a former patient has publicly come forward and alleged that Dr. Cahill pursued her years ago and sexually assaulted her during an appointment.
Megan Wesko, 32, was seen by Dr. Cahill in 2009 when she was only 19 for a case of traveler diarrhea. Dr. Cahill proceeded with the appointment and exam without the presence of any medical staff and performed an intrusive exam with the lawsuit claiming he sexually assaulted her by ripping off her gown, fondling her, and penetrating her anus with his finger or an object. Ms. Wasko’s case has prompted another young woman to come forward with a similar claim of sexual assault.
Without recently passed legislation in New York, Ms. Wasko’s claim against Dr. Cahill might have otherwise been barred due to the statute of limitations. Fortunately for victims of sexual assaults, on May 24, 2022, New York enacted the Adult Survivors Act which temporarily suspends applicability of the statute of limitations for victims who were 18 years and older at the time of their sexual abuse. Under the Act, adult victims of sexual abuse, whose statute of limitations may have expired, are given until November 2023 to bring claims that may otherwise have been barred. After the window closes, time-expired claims can no longer be revived.
Doctors are professionals in the community whom we trust to care for our loved ones. When doctors breach that trust through an act of sexual abuse, many patients often question if they are overreacting and if the doctor was justified in their actions. When seeking medical care, patient rights govern a safe and secure experience, and physicians who ignore your rights violate patient trust, medical ethics, and the law.
- End the exam at any time. If you are at the doctor’s and an exam is uncomfortable, or you feel uneasy, you can ask to end the exam at any time, and the doctor should promptly comply.
- Have someone in the room. Many doctors will ask a nurse or staff member to observe the exam for your safety and theirs. You also have the right for a friend or family member to be present during the exam.
- Have your questions answered. If you are unsure of what the doctor is doing or what the exam will include, the healthcare provider should inform you of the process and answer any questions.
Filing a Lawsuit
If a healthcare provider has sexually abused you, a civil lawsuit is filed, which can take place before or after the criminal charges are filed. Filing a civil lawsuit demands monetary compensation for the victim and is meant to cover various items, including:
- Lost wages
- Related medical bills
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment
The statute of limitations can impact filing a lawsuit against an abuser, and each state has different guidelines. This is the timeframe allowed after the incident of sexual abuse by a healthcare professional when adults or children can file a suit. Abuse survivors are often unaware of their state’s law governing time limits on abuse cases.
If you or someone you know is a victim of such abuse, speak to the attorneys at Charles Boyk to discuss the applicable statute of limitations on sexual abuse cases and determine how much time you may have to come forward.
Our firm represents victims who were sexually abused by their doctors. If you or a loved one has suffered sexual abuse by a healthcare professional, contact our attorneys at Charles Boyk to have a confidential consultation about the legal rights of abuse survivors and demand accountability against your medical professional or healthcare organization for breaching your trust. We understand that this is an emotional time, charged with mixed feelings that many victims experience when considering filing a suit against a physician or other healthcare professional who abused them. There is no financial obligation to discuss your incident of sexual abuse by a medical professional, and our attorneys at Charles Boyk will listen and explain all your options.