Complaints that female trainees were being sexually harassed by senior surgeons corruptly wielding power over their careers have been ignored by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons for seven years, a doctor says.
Explosive leaked documents reveal Sydney surgeon Gabrielle McMullin told the college in 2008 that three female trainees had asked her advice on how to deal with senior surgeons asking for sexual favours. In two cases, corruption of training processes was alleged.
"In one case the surgeon has offered a place on a training scheme based on the granting of sexual services. In another case the surgeon has become very angry about the refusal of sexual services and consequently produced a report that questioned the ability of the trainee," Dr McMullin wrote in a letter to then president Ian Gough.
"Refusing sexual services is the most palatable option but it is likely to lead to some grief in terms of references and reports," she wrote in the letter to Professor Gough.Dr McMullin said she told the trainees that granting sexual services was "probably the safest way to play it in that there will be no 'fuss' ". However, she said she warned the women that "men have very short memories following sex and are unlikely to follow through with promises of training positions".