USC let gynecologist treat students for decades despite sex complaints

  • Dr George Tyndall was hired by the University of Southern California in 1989
  • Co-workers complained he was unnecessarily taking photos of patients' genitals
  • Also said to have made sexual remarks in unnecessarily intimate examinations
  • Allowed to keep job until 2016 when discovery of photographs led to suspension
  • Received undisclosed payoff and was able to renew medical licence in January

By Dailymail.com Reporter

Published: 10:18 EDT, 16 May 2018 | Updated: 16:42 EDT, 16 May 2018

Dr George Tyndall (undated file photo) was hired by the University of Southern California in 1989, and first faced complaints on the 1990s
Dr George Tyndall (undated file photo) was hired by the University of Southern California in 1989, and first faced complaints on the 1990s

Dr George Tyndall (undated file photo) was hired by the University of Southern California in 1989, and first faced complaints on the 1990s

A university gynecologist was allowed to treat students for nearly 30 years despite numerous complaints he hoarded images of their genitals and touched them inappropriately during pelvic exams while making 'creepy' remarks.

Dr George Tyndall was hired by the University of Southern California in 1989, and first faced complaints in the 1990s, when co-workers claimed he was unnecessarily taking photos of 'hundreds' of his patients' vaginas.

More damning allegations piled up in the years that followed - including that he inappropriately touched students while making sexual remarks - until he was allowed to resign last year with an undisclosed pay out. He intends to continue practising.

A full picture of the allegations against Dr Tyndall during his decades-long career at USC was put together by the Los Angeles Times from exclusive interviews with 20 current and former employees and 100 pages of complaints made against him.

Dr Tyndall told the Times he denies all the allegations and has always followed correct medical procedure.

Complaints were first made about the doctor's conduct during medical exams by his chaperones - female nurses or assistants who accompanied him in the treatment room.

They became concerned by what Tyndall described as a full body scan to check for unusual moles, which saw patients lie naked on the examination table as he slowly examined every part of their body, including the area between their buttocks.

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More damning allegations piled up in the years that followed - including that he inappropriately touched students while making sexual remarks. Pictured is the Engemann Health Center, where he worked since it opened in 2013
More damning allegations piled up in the years that followed - including that he inappropriately touched students while making sexual remarks. Pictured is the Engemann Health Center, where he worked since it opened in 2013

More damning allegations piled up in the years that followed - including that he inappropriately touched students while making sexual remarks. Pictured is the Engemann Health Center, where he worked since it opened in 2013

He is also said to have made 'creepy' remarks about the students' appearance during these exams, including describing their breasts as 'perky' and calling their skin 'flawless' and 'beautiful'.

'They stand right up there, don't they?' he allegedly told one patient.

The latter part of gynecological exams often sees the doctor examine the uterus for abnormalities by inserting two fingers inside a patient.

However, chaperones were concerned by Tyndall's use of his fingers at the beginning of an exam. They claimed he would often express concerns that a medical device used to open the walls of the vagina would not fit.

'Oh, I think it will fit. Let's put two fingers in,' one assistant recalled him saying, adding that he would move his two fingers in and out of the vagina as he spoke.

The chaperones also said he repeated a similar statement to hundreds of women as he probed them: 'My, what a tight muscle you have. You must be a runner.'

In some exams, Tyndall is said to have made explicit references to sex. One chaperone recalled him telling young patients not to worry their hymen was intact as 'your boyfriend's going to love it'.

He also allegedly gave a Middle Eastern student a small bag of blood that she could pop on her wedding night so her husband would think she was a virgin.

An internal USC investigation said Tyndall's conduct during pelvic exams amounted to sexual harassment.

Co-workers also became concerned in recent years that Tyndall was targeting Chinese students who had little spoken English or knowledge of American medical conduct.

Earlier in his career, chaperones were worried about how often he would take photographs of students' genitals. One chaperone recalled 'hundreds' of patients photographed in this way, while another witnessed '50 to 100'.

Tyndall claimed he did this to reassure patients they did not have genital warts and to avoid future lawsuits for missing a cancer diagnosis.

Pictured is an undated file photo of the University of Southern California campus, where Tyndall worked for nearly three decades
Pictured is an undated file photo of the University of Southern California campus, where Tyndall worked for nearly three decades

Pictured is an undated file photo of the University of Southern California campus, where Tyndall worked for nearly three decades

The doctor was allowed to continue practising despite the numerous complaints that were filed against him.

His downfall came in June 2016 when photographs of students' genitals shot in 1990 and 1991 were found under his desk, some with identifying information.

This discovery, along with a nurse's complaint to a rape crisis center, led to Tyndall being immediately suspended.

However, he was allowed to resign from the university's Engemann Student Health Center a year later with an undisclosed pay off.

And as USC did not report him to the Medical Board of California, he is allowed to continue practising and renewed his medical license in January.

USC President C. L. Max Nikias released a statement about Tyndall on Tuesday.

Nikias said the university had acted quickly to suspend Tyndall in 2016 and said previous complaints had been handled independently by the former health center director, Dr Lawrence Neinstein.

He also said the University of Southern California had complained to the California Medical Board when Tyndall asked to be reemployed earlier this year.

But he admitted this complaint should have been made as soon as Tyndall resigned in June 2017 to prevent him from practising medicine elsewhere. 

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