LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – USC fired two longtime student health clinic administrators as a result of a Los Angeles Times investigation revealing years of complaints about misconduct complaints against the university’s veteran gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall, according to the newspaper.
The Times reported on its website Friday that Dr. William Leavitt, the lead physician at the Engemann Student Health Clinic, confirmed he was fired Friday afternoon and said he was not informed of the reasons for his termination.
Tammie Akiyoshi, the clinical director at the health clinic, was also fired, the paper said.
The terminations come as outrage grows over USC’s handling of Tyndall, and as more former patients reveal to The Times increasingly disturbing stories about their treatment while they were students at the school.
In a letter dated May 15, USC President Max Nikias announced that the school’s Office of Equity and Diversity got a complaint about Tyndall in June 2016 and immediately launched an investigation — which included surveying 2,500 student patients — and placed Tyndall, now 71, on administrative leave.
USC didn’t terminate his employment until June 2017.
The newspaper had been investigating Tyndall for months prior to the university’s acknowledgment Tuesday.
On Friday, the Times reported that about 200 more patients had come forward with complaints against Tyndall, who had served as the Engemann Student Health Center’s only full-time gynecologist for nearly 30 years. The paper said some of those cases would soon be forwarded to the Los Angeles Police Department.
USC revealed that complaints about Tyndall dating back to the early 2000s reached Dr. Larry Neinstein, the late executive director of the clinic, but he “handled patient complaints independently,” the newspaper reported.
In addition to the accusations that Tyndall used racist and sexually inappropriate remarks, former colleagues had questioned his methods of pelvic exams, specifically, his practice of digital insertion before using a speculum.
The university said it was unclear why Tyndall was allowed to remain in his position. Leavitt said Neinstein, who died in 2016, was being unfairly blamed, and he dismissed USC’s portrayal of his management, according to the newspaper.
The Times reported that Leavitt, a physician at USC since 1991, said in a brief phone interview that “I’m basically the scapegoat … From my perspective it’s a wrongful termination.”
“Dr. Neinstein never did anything without consulting the people above him,” Leavitt told The Times.
The Times reported that clinical director Akiyoshi had received several complaints from a nurse about lewd remarks and inappropriate pelvic exams by Tyndall.
Former colleagues alleged Tyndall targeted young women, especially those from China and other Asian countries, for exams that included inappropriate touching and lewd remarks about patients’ sex lives and bodies, the Times reported.
The Chinese government issued a pointed public statement Wednesday expressing “serious concerns” about USC’s handling of Tyndall.
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