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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: When I read the letter from "No Doctor's Playmate," whose doctor reached into her bra when she consulted him about an ear infection, I couldn't help but sympathize. The same thing happened to me. My surgeon walked into my hospital room and fondled my breasts when he checked my abdominal incision. When my gastroenterologist came, I told her I wanted him removed from my case and explained why.

Abby, she defended him! She said it was probably a routine breast exam. I told her that I'd had more than 30 years' worth of breast exams, and this was nothing like them. I also told her it was not authorized by me, and he was not my gynecologist. She then had the nerve to imply that I was dreaming or having a drug-induced fantasy. This happened eight years ago. I'm still furious about it.

He still has his shingle. So, ladies, if your doctor pulls anything funny -- report him! -- MAD IN OKLAHOMA CITY

DEAR MAD: Since he did this to you, he may be sexually abusing other women patients. After complaining to the referring physician and getting no satisfaction, you should have taken your complaint to the head of the hospital and to the state medical association. It's not too late to do it now. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: The same thing happened to me when I was 18. It happened a second time when I returned for a follow-up visit. I was so upset I told the nurses I didn't want to see that particular doctor again. (He was part of a group.) I was too embarrassed to explain exactly why.

Two years later, I was called by the Office of Professional Medical Conduct in New York state. They were investigating the doctor. Five women wound up testifying against him. None of us knew each other or heard each other's testimony, but similarities in our stories proved the doctor was guilty.

He took advantage of his medical license and his authority. The state eventually revoked his license to practice in New York. Talking about what he did to me was difficult, but it was also therapeutic. Doctors like that need to be stopped. I hope other victims will not be as scared as I was to speak out. My mistake was in not questioning when I knew something was wrong. -- WISER NOW IN OCEANSIDE, N.Y.

DEAR WISER NOW: I hope other women will take your experience to heart.

DEAR ABBY: I consulted a general surgeon about a problem totally unrelated to my breasts and the doctor did the same thing to me. I reported him to the state medical licensing board, and he now must have a nurse or staff member present during exams.

He claimed he "always" did breast exams on his patients, but I was able to provide names of two other women who saw him for surgical consultations, and he did not examine their breasts.

I am close to 50 and have had many breast exams. No doctor ever performed one while I was fully clothed. I join you in urging "No Doctor's Playmate" to report the incident immediately. -- ONLY MY HUSBAND'S PLAYMATE IN KENTUCKY

DEAR HUSBAND'S PLAYMATE: You handled the situation effectively. Good for you. And thank you for sharing with my readers how you dealt with the frisky-fingered physician.

P.S. This goes for readers of both sexes. If something doesn't seem "right," you have every right to question it. And if the answers don't make sense to you, get a second opinion.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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