Updated: Oct 12
By Frank O 'Laughlin, Boston 25 News - 10.10.2023 - [USA] - [Derrick Todd]
A doctor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston forced at least one of his patients to strip naked in front of him before groping and fondling her body during “phony” breast and vaginal exams, a newly filed lawsuit alleges.
Dr. Derrick J. Todd “sexually exploited, abused, harassed, and molested” Marianne “Mimi” DiTrani, who identified herself during a Tuesday news conference, while she was a patient at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, according to a lawsuit filed in Suffolk Superior Court against Todd, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, Mass General Brigham Community Physicians, Inc., and Charles River Medical Associates.
“Todd used his position of trust and authority to commit acts of sexual violence, sexual exploitation, and serial abuse of Plaintiff on numerous occasions by engaging in deviant sexual acts that included, but are not limited to grooming Plaintiff for sexual exploitation and sexual abuse; making sexually inappropriate remarks and deviant statements to Plaintiff; coercing Plaintiff to strip naked in front of him alone in the examination room; groping and fondling of Plaintiff’s breasts for no medical purpose during phony and medically unnecessary breast exams; touching and fondling Plaintiff’s genitalia for no medical purpose; digitally penetrating Plaintiff’s vagina for no medical purpose during the performance of phony, and medically unnecessary vaginal examinations and PAP smears,” the lawsuit stated.
During the news conference that was called to announce the lawsuit, DiTrani said, “When you trust someone in a position of power, go to them for healing, and are instead hurt, it’s frightening, confusing, and difficult to process. There is no shame. Predators are adept at picking up cues others cannot see. I have decided to come forward because someone must. Nature has taught us there is safety in numbers. I want anyone who was harmed in the way that I was to know they are not alone, and there is nothing to fear. I want to be the voice for the voiceless and encourage them to speak. In so doing, we can ensure this does not happen again, and that the healing process can begin.”
One of DiTrani’s attorneys, Brian Perkins, said that Todd assaulted “well over” 100 other victims.
“It’s shocking and disgusting that a doctor would use his position of authority and trust to prey on his patients, but what’s even more stunning is that this could happen at such a world-renowned hospital,” Perkins said. “We’re sending a clear message today that this will not be tolerated. Ever.”
In the lawsuit, DiTrani also claimed that medical staff, chaperones, nurses, supervisors, administrators, doctors, and other hospital personnel were aware of the sexual exploitation and abuse at the hands of Todd.
“Todd, Brigham and Women’s Defendants, their medical facilities, offices, clinics, and their agents, servants, and/or employees, actively and deliberately – and inexplicably – concealed Defendant Todd’s sexual abuse and continued to grant Defendant Todd unfettered access to vulnerable, unsuspecting female patients at Brigham and Women’s Defendants’ medical facilities, all in deceitful and disdainful attempt to protect Brigham and Women’s Defendants reputations, their status amongst other medical institutions, and their own corporate and financial interests,” the lawsuit stated.
DiTrani said she first sought medical care at Brigham in November 2022 for a genetic condition that affects her joints and skin, and that Todd sent her a text message suggesting that she had been recommended to initiate care with him and asked if she could call him personally to set up an appointment.
At the first visit, DiTrani said Todd asked “a series of inappropriate, invasive, and exploitative questions about her appearance and sexual history” before coercing her to disrobe in front of him, alone, in the examination room. It’s further alleged that Todd then performed a medically unnecessary breast examination and a medically unnecessary gynecological examination.
Todd is also accused of telling DiTrani that she needed to continue to see him regularly in person. DiTrani, desperate for relief from her medical condition and trusting that Todd was trying to treat her, said she was “unknowingly being groomed by Todd” and that she dutifully returned to Brigham’s offices for multiple follow-up visits in December 2022 and January 2023.
“Defendant Todd told Plaintiff that she needed to continue to see him regularly in person. Plaintiff, desperate for relief from her debilitating medical conditions and trusting that Defendant Todd was trying to treat her conditions, was unknowingly groomed by Defendant Todd and dutifully returned to Brigham and Women’s Defendants’ offices for multiple follow-up visits in December 2022 and January 2023,” the lawsuit stated.
DiTrani is suing Todd for negligence, battery, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. She has also accused the healthcare provider of negligent hiring, supervision, credentialing, and retention.
Todd was recently terminated on July 31 following an investigation into anonymous complaints, a healthcare official said last Friday.
The hospital initially placed Todd on administrative leave before making the decision to end his employment, according to Dr. Charles Morris, the Brigham’s chief medical officer and senior vice president for medical affairs.
On Sept. 5, 2023, Todd voluntarily agreed to stop practicing, according to the board.
Ingrid S. Martin, an attorney representing Todd, said last week that he hasn’t seen the allegations in the lawsuit.
“Dr. Todd has not seen the allegations in any lawsuit filed against him. Over the course of his career, he has been an outstanding rheumatologist and internist. To the extent that anyone is bringing claims against him, Dr. Todd believes that he has done nothing wrong and will defend against such claims vigorously. We are cooperating fully with any investigation by the Board of Registration in Medicine.”
Doctor Charles Morris, Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital responded to the lawsuit Tuesday afternoon.
“We deeply regret the harm Dr. Todd’s actions has caused our patients and their families. We take our duty to care for our patients and keep them safe extremely seriously. We have, and always will, act decisively on any allegations of misconduct, as we did in this case,” said Dr. Morris in a statement. “We began an internal investigation immediately after we received two anonymous complaints about Dr. Todd. He was then placed on administrative leave once we learned more and, upon completion of that initial investigation, we made a decision to terminate him. We notified the Department of Public Health and the Board of Registration in Medicine and then contacted law enforcement. We also reached out to his current and former patients to speak with them about the care they received and to connect them to additional services.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact Dignity4Patients, whose helpline is open Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm.