A second woman has sued a prominent rheumatologist who left Brigham and Women’s Hospital in July, alleging that he sexually abused her by conducting breast and pelvic exams that were unnecessary to treat her condition.
Marianne “Mimi” DiTrani is the first former patient to come forward publicly against Dr. Derrick Todd, who left Brigham in July amid allegations he had performed examinations on patients that were not medically indicated. Another former patient sued Todd on Sept. 29 for malpractice, but that lawsuit is under seal in Middlesex Superior Court.
At a news conference Tuesday, DiTrani described feeling duped by Todd and recalled one time in December 2022 when she questioned him about why he needed to perform a Pap smear to treat her for a serious rheumatological condition. She said Todd insisted it was a normal part of her treatment.
“You know — it’s a doctor,” DiTrani, 48, said. “He always had an answer. He’s very charming, very personable.”
Her lawsuit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, alleges Todd asked her a series of “inappropriate, invasive, and exploitative questions” about her appearance and sexual history before having her disrobe while alone with him in an examination room. He often examined her without a chaperone present, and frequently texted her at all hours of the day, according to the suit.
In addition to Todd, DiTrani also sued Brigham and Women’s, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, Mass General Brigham Community Physicians Inc., and Charles River Medical Associates, where Todd also worked. She accused the hospital system of missing “warning signs” about Todd’s behavior and failing to protect patients.
Todd’s attorney, Ingrid Martin, did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday. In a statement last week, she said, “Over the course of his career he has been an outstanding rheumatologist and internist. To the extent that anyone is making a claim against him, Dr. Todd believes that he has done nothing wrong and will defend against it vigorously.”
The former chief of clinical rheumatology at Brigham’s Faulkner Hospital, Todd left the Brigham as the hospital was investigating allegations against him made by two people who identified themselves as physicians, according to an incident report filed with the state. He has since agreed to stop practicing medicine in Massachusetts or in any other state, but specified in a letter to the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine that the agreement does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing.
DiTrani urged other women to come forward, saying, “I would like other girls, other victims, other women to feel like they can talk about what happened and without feeling ashamed.”
Now, many of Todd’s former patients are poised to file suit, according to attorneys.
“We currently represent in excess of 40 victims,” said attorney Drew Meyer, of the Boston firm Lubin & Meyer. The firm plans to file a class-action lawsuit on behalf of those women on Wednesday, he said.
Mass General Brigham’s chief medical officer, Dr. Charles Morris, said in a statement Tuesday, “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.”
The hospital said it had first suspended Todd and then “terminated” him on July 31 at the conclusion of an initial investigation. Brigham and Women’s said it notified the state Board of Registration in Medicine, which licenses and disciplines physicians, of Todd’s departure. The board did not comment on whether Todd is under investigation.
The Suffolk County district attorney’s office and the Boston Police Department are also investigating allegations that Todd sexually assaulted multiple patients, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the case who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The district attorney’s office on Tuesday declined to comment on any investigation.
On Tuesday, DiTrani’s lawyer, Brian Perkins, called Todd’s treatment of her “the ultimate betrayal.”
DiTrani first saw Todd in November 2022 at Charles River Medical Associates in Framingham, according to her lawsuit. She declined to talk about the specifics of her condition, but called it “serious”; her lawyers said she suffers from a genetic condition that affects the joints and skin.
On the first visit, Todd “began subjecting her to a course of predatory grooming, boundary violating, mental, emotional, and physical sexual abuse that was masked by his position of power and authority,” her lawsuit alleges.
Todd then “performed a medically unnecessary, unwarranted, non-indicated breast examination,” according to the lawsuit.
He conducted a pelvic examination without the instruments that are normally used for a gynecological exam, according to the suit. DiTrani saw him for multiple follow-up appointments between December 2022 and January 2023, according to the suit.
Todd also began speaking by phone and text with DiTrani frequently, sometimes daily, according to the lawsuit.
During each follow-up appointment he allegedly asked DiTrani “inappropriate sexual questions, made sexualized comments, performed sexualized breast examinations, and performed sexualized gynecological examinations that included digital penetration, all under the guise of medical treatment,” according to the suit.
In January, DiTrani moved to California for a job, but Todd remained in contact, according to the suit and continued to “inappropriately” treat her remotely, prescribing medication, and frequently calling and texting her, the lawsuit alleges.
She alleges she returned to Massachusetts in June “after being pressured to do so” by Todd as he continued to treat her and last received treatment from him in July. But, the suit alleges that he continued to text her, including as recently as Sept. 29.
DiTrani declined to disclose the contents of the texts, but said Todd often spoke about his personal life.
“He was trying still to control all of the entire situation,” DiTrani said.
During their last exchanges, according to DiTrani, Todd told her he was reaching out to his patients because the district attorney’s office might be contacting them. She said he advised her to talk to his lawyer. DiTrani said she told him, “I have nothing to say to you.”
Globe staff reporters Liz Kowalczyk and Felice J. Freyer contributed to this report.