Health Law

Hospital Cleared Doc in '96 Complaint Who's Now Charged in 529 Patient Sex Offenses


In 1996, a Delaware hospital conducted an internal investigation of a pediatrician accused of inappropriate conduct with young patients and concluded he had done nothing wrong. Hence, administrators reportedly never informed the state’s medical disciplinary board or law enforcement authorities of the allegations.

Now Dr. Earl Bradley has been criminally charged with sexually abusing more than 100 young patients and officials fear that lawsuits—there are already at least 18 filed by patients’ families—could bankrupt Beebe Medical Center, reports the Wilmington News Journal in a lengthy Sunday article about the situation.

Bradley, 56, who has pleaded not guilty to 471 felony counts concerning 102 girls and a boy, was indicted last week on an additional 58 sex-offense counts, the Delaware attorney general, Beau Biden, announced today. They relate to 24 girls he treated between 1999 and 2009, reports CNN Justice—and, Biden says, are based on “video and digital evidence” seized in December from Bradley’s home and medical offices after his arrest.

“Most of the evidence in this case comes from videotapes—it’s kind of hard to argue with videotapes,” his lawyer, Eugene Maurer Jr., told the news agency in February, explaining that he expected the defense to focus on his client’s “mental health at the time.”

The 1996 complaint about the pediatrician was the only one ever made directly to the 210-bed Lewes facility, CEO Jeffrey Fried tells the News Journal, and because Bradley was cleared in the internal review, Beebe had no obligation to report it to authorities. State law mandates that medical professionals report colleagues they “reasonably believe may be guilty of unprofessional conduct” to the state medical board.

“Beebe Medical Center recognizes there are many significant issues caused by Bradley’s reprehensible behavior. People’s lives have been forever altered by this diabolical monster,” the 210-bed Lewes facility says in a written statement provided to the newspaper. “The acts perpetrated by Bradley on his young victims and their families did not spare Beebe Medical Center. A number of our employees have identified their children as victims.”

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