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Trisha Torrey

Pediatrician Molested Patients - Proving a Point about Doctor Ratings Websites

By January 14, 2010

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This report is a perfect example of the truth being stranger, and more sickening, than fiction.† I share it with you because we can learn some lessons from it.

In Delaware, a pediatrician named Earl B. Bradley, has been arrested on 32 criminal counts of rape and molestation of children -- little girls -- ages 3 months to 13 years.† The prosecutor speculates that these 32 are just the tip of the iceberg.† As you might guess, parents and professionals are now coming forth citing many more stories of sexual abuse, taking place over more than a decade of this man's medical practice.

There is a lot of second guessing going on.† It seems reports were made on this guy at least five years ago -- and now many people from parents to office managers are claiming they filed complaints that were ignored by the state of Delaware, the medical board and others in a position to stop the man.† No one did anything before just a few months ago.† Now the monster is being held in jail on $2.9 million bond.

So what can we learn from this horrible turn of events?

1.† This is a perfect example of why we need to research our doctors before we ask them to help us with our health and medical care. In particular, you'll want to look for random comments and information about malpractice. I can't even imagine how guilty the parents of these children feel for not checking him out before taking their children to see him.

2.† Bradley was licensed in four different states: Delaware, Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania (expired.)† This is a good example of why we need to research credentials and problems in more than just the state where the doctor currently practices. Unfortunately no database is available that allows patients to search nationwide.† (A nationwide database does exist, but there is resistance to letting us use it - another story for another day.)

3. It's also a good example of why I think doctor ratings sites are a waste of time. I looked up this monster on a few of the doctor's ratings websites.† Since his arrest there is plenty of discussion of how bad he is.† But prior to his arrest, these are some of the comments that had been left:

From Vitals.com:


Dr Bradley is a wonderful doctor he is a little different and seems a little more at ease with children than he does their parents. He spends quality time with his patients. Since he does spend so much time with his patients 10-15 minutes + The wait time is a little longer, but well worth it. He also makes sure that children that need to be seen with an illness/problem are seen the same day. They actually stayed open a little late just to make sure my baby then 6 monthes was taken care of.

From Rate MDs:

My children love Dr.Bradley. He takes time to connect with the kids. He listened to my concerns with vaccines and is going to work with me to vaccinate them the way I have requested. I feel most Doctors give out too many antibiotics and he offers them and I deny them for ear infections and he will see my children a week later to check and see if the infection is gone without antibiotics- 80% of infections go away on their own. He is caring and educated.

Bottom line:

Doctors are human beings, and have the same good traits and bad ones that all human beings have.† Just because they are educated and rich does not make them good people.† You owe it to yourself to research any doctor you plan to see before you see that doctor.

And if somehow you find yourself seeing a doctor you haven't researched (possible, although less than desirable) -- then trust your judgment about that doctor.† If your intuition, or any evidence, indicates that person is not invested in your well-being, or seems not to be focused on helping you stay healthy or get well -- then find yourself another doctor.

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Learn more or join the conversation!


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Photo © Lewes, Delaware Police Dept.

January 14, 2010 at 10:20 am
(1) Warren Dimontague says:

It’s insulting to say that parents should feel guilty for failing to check up on Dr. Bradley. The damning records weren’t public, and even the most dilligent parent wouldn’t have found them.

I knew Earl. I thought I knew him well. I know I knew him, and his entire family, better than any doctor I ever took my kids to see. My “research” was better than anything you’ll ever achieve with public records, and these crimes caught me completely by surprise. Sometimes you really can’t see through the sheep’s clothing.

January 14, 2010 at 10:33 am
(2) Trisha Torrey says:

I didn’t say parents should feel guilty — and did not mean to insinuate that at all. But I’m sure some parents do. I do know that if someone I expected to help my child ever harmed my child, I would feel guilty — even though it’s not appropriate, even though it’s not warranted, that’s what we parents do. We second guess ourselves.

You are right, Warren, that no public records were available. Not all these scumbags can be caught before they do harm, obviously.

If I were a parent of a child who had been his patient, I would be loudly asking questions of the authorities who could have and should have done something about this man — long before they did. The medical board had information. The state had information. Reports were made — why didn’t that at least raise some question marks that the public heard about?

Clearly this pedophile was smart enough not to pull anything on your kids. For that, you can be thankful.

January 14, 2010 at 11:43 am
(3) Warren Dimontague says:

“[W]hy didnít that at least raise some question marks that the public heard about?”

The reports couldn’t be substantiated. There was no evidence to support them. Are you really suggesting that baseless accusations should have been made public by officials who couldn’t verify them?

In hindsight, that would’ve been ok in this case. But what about the father who’s accused of impropriety during an ugly divorce? The teacher set up by a coniving or infatuated student? Innocent people get accused of things all the time, and they shouldn’t suffer for the smears.

We can cry all we like about the things we all should have done and known. None of us did. We can analyze, complain, and Monday-morning-quarterback all we like, but we’ll be caught just as unaware the next time. Sometimes, things happen that we just can’t control for.

January 15, 2010 at 7:30 am
(4) Doctor Watchdog says:

Best never to leave a female patient of any age alone with a male doctor. Doctor sexual misconduct is a very serious, but largely overlooked, problem. Studies show around 1 in 10 doctors admit to sexual contact with patients. Outrageous! No one would send a child to a school where 1 in 10 teachers admit to sexual contact with students, yet women constantly expose themselves to a system that largely tolerates predators in white coats.

January 19, 2010 at 9:53 am
(5) Ally Low says:

I find it strange that young children – as young as 3-months – would be left alone in an exam room with any doctor. Not because of distrust, but because parents ought to be having dialogue with that doctor during the visit. I’ve always been in the exam with my daughter, and never got the impression our physician would have preferred it any other way.

January 19, 2010 at 5:40 pm
(6) Doctor Watchdog says:

Some of the alleged molestation took place with parents or grandparents in the room.

January 22, 2010 at 5:30 pm
(7) minutemoon says:

Do female doctors and nurse sometimes abuse male patients. In cases like the one above and the one I’ve cited, what’s most disturbing is that quite often other medical professionals are aware of the violation and few if any have the courage or ethics to report it. Take a look at this story:


January 22, 2010 at 5:53 pm
(8) Aztec says:

It has come to the point of NEVER EVER leave your children alone with anyone!

April 25, 2010 at 7:37 pm
(9) Mark says:

RateMds is the worse site I have ever experienced. There are so many false ratings and many of the forum members are psychiatric patients with nothing better to do than gossip. They speak for others, post pictures of others, post private e-mails, make assumptions and are quite frankly nothing more than pathetic. The site is a disgrace. The moderators delete and ban at will with no rhyme or reason other than posters must make the site look good. The entire site should be in grave question as to their knowledge.

February 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm
(10) CaDad says:

Really, Just females with male nurses or male Doctors? I will have you know there are just as many female Doctors and Female Nurses molesting young males! I don’t think members of the opposite sex providing care should ever be in a position alone with members of the opposite sex. That includes having chaperons of the same sex with them-we need to respect the privacy, modesty and dignity of our kids, young adults and the people we care for. I might add that females supervising males in Juvenile hall, or people incarcerated should never be allowed to violate the modesty of those who have no control over their environment-females are just as perverse as males.

October 16, 2011 at 7:26 pm
(11) Delaware Resident Close to Lewes says:

I am upset til this day to see any kind of reports about this thing, and I say thing because he doesnt deserve the respect to be called a human. Yes he was a doctor and abused his power. One post said that he abused some children while parents were in the room. Yes indeed this happened. The reports said that the doctor performed unwarranted exams and too many reoccuring exams. I never have met this doctor and sure am glad that I have a pediatrician that is ahead of pediatrics board in the state of delaware. Once this case was uncovered. My doctor actually took the time during a routine visit to make sure that my children never went to him or saw him in the ER.. I know that my pediatricians office had a number of hours to go over many reports of patients that saw the THING prior to switching to them. It is sad because there are some kids that trusted Dr. Bradley and that trust was majorly violated. Even my pediatrician and nurse practioners always talk to my children in the exam room about strangers and never to talk to them. I am glad this is done so they do not hear it just from myself and think I am just a nagging mom! I love my pediatrician and feel bad for those children and families that were violated by Dr. Bradley and his office. The nurses and aides there should of known.

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