A 19-year-old Howard University female student is suing Howard University Hospital, the District, and several doctors for medical malpractice and medical negligence. She claims that the University and District were negligent because several doctors at area hospitals committed medical malpractice by refusing to treat her with a rape kit even though she told them she had just been sexually assault.
The student—whose name is being withheld because she is a sexual assault victim—says that GW Hospital refused to treat her because she allegedly appeared intoxicated. In her complaint, the woman claims that she was given a date rape dug while she was at a party located outside the Howard campus. One of the party’s hosts then sodomized her without her consent.
The student immediately went with two witnesses to Howard University Hospital for treatment. They allegedly sent her home without administering the rape kit because she was intoxicated. She tried obtaining a rape kit from the hospital again in the morning and once again they refused to treat her.
The District mandates that all hospitals contact police regarding sex assault claims before administering the rape kit. Howard University Hospital did not contact local authorities.
When the assault victim contacted the Metropolitan Police Department, they also said that they didn’t think she needed a sexual assault kit.
The student then drove to GW Hospital where a doctor examined her but also refused to administer the rape kit because police and Howard University Hospital did not give the kit to her.
The plaintiff says that she was denied the reasonable medical care that she is legally entitled to.
In the lawsuit, GW Hospital is accused of refusing to treat the student because doctors said she seemed intoxicated. The student is suing the University and the hospital for negligent hiring.
She wants compensatory damages. She also wants GW Hospital to modify its rape treatment policies. She says that the hospital staff’s refusal to treat her may have prevented authorities from catching her rape assailant.
A rape kit is used to take semen, tissues, and blood samples to identify the perpetrator.
Doctors, nurses, surgeons, dentists, and other medical staff members are required to provide patients with a reasonable level of medical care that is expected from other medical members in their position. Failure to do so can be grounds for medical malpractice.
Some other common grounds for medical malpractice claims and lawsuits include failure to diagnose, wrongful diagnosis, delayed diagnosis, surgical malpractice, prescription errors, birth injuries caused by negligence, and failure to receive proper patient consent.
GW sued for negligence, malpractice, GWhatchett.com, October 4, 2007
Student Sues Hospitals For Refusing Her A Rape Kit, WUSA9.com, October 23, 2007
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George Washington University Hospital
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