Respectful Insolence

As a surgical oncologist whose practice is made up largely of treating breast cancer, I really hate guys like this:

MIAMI – A 76-year-old man claiming to be a doctor went door-to-door in a Florida neighborhood offering free breast exams and was charged with sexually assaulting two women who accepted the offer, police said Thursday.

One woman became suspicious after the man asked her to remove all her clothes and began conducting a purported genital exam without donning rubber gloves, investigators said.

The woman then phoned the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, and the suspect fled. He was arrested at another woman’s apartment in the same Lauderdale Lakes neighborhood on Wednesday, a sheriff’s spokesman said.

The white-haired suspect, Philip Winikoff, carried a black bag and claimed to be visiting on behalf of a local hospital.

“He told the woman that he was in the neighborhood offering free breast exams,” sheriff’s spokesman Hugh Graf said in a statement.

At least two women, both in their 30s, let him into their homes, and he fondled and sexually assaulted them, the investigators said.


And here is a more detailed account:

The 35-year-old woman told police she was approached by an elderly man carrying a black bag as she was walking to the trash can in front of her Lauderdale Lakes apartment on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Broward sheriff’s deputies arrested the suspect, identified as 76-year-old Philip Winikoff of Coconut Creek, as he came out of a second woman’s home. He was charged with sexual battery and simple assault.

”He was an older man, with white hair,” Felix said. “And he was carrying a medical bag. We didn’t doubt him.”

The man told her he was a doctor from North Miami Hospital, Felix told reporters. The hospital was reaching out to the community to promote breast cancer awareness, he told her, and offered to give her a free breast examination.

“My girlfriend hasn’t been in the country for a long time and doesn’t speak English very well, so that’s one reason why she believed him,” Felix said.

“He immediately pulled out a stethoscope and began checking her breasts.'”

Winikoff allegedly said he needed privacy to conduct the examination, so he and the victim went into the spare bedroom.

”I was trying to get ready for a job interview, so I was in the bathroom and that’s when I heard her calling for me,” Felix said. “She had come out of the room and looked scared to death.'”

She later told authorities the man had assaulted her vaginally and anally.

Damn it, it’s hard enough getting women to do proper breast care, see their doctor for routine breast exams, and get their mammograms without idiots like this sowing suspicion about health care professionals. There are indeed some outreach programs with mobile mammography machines and even nurses (and sometimes doctors) who go out to help teach women to do self-breast exams and encourage them to get mammograms when appropriate. Clowns like this pervert don’t help us win an already uphill battle.

Comments

  1. #1 Paul
    April 24, 2006

    At first, I was amazed that could ever happen. What woman, I thought, would ever believe a man going door to door handing out “free breast exams.” I then remembered that I live in a country (Canada) where I don’t have to pay to go to the doctor, and I realized how the word ‘free’ might make big difference to some in the US.

  2. #2 Roman Werpachowski
    April 24, 2006

    Paul: you do pay, through your taxes ;-)

    A similar story happened in Poland recently. An doctor (real one) told some two female patients during an interview that their health problems are linked to some gynecological problems and offered to make an examination. Both refused and the second filed charges at the police, which arrested the “wise guy”.

  3. #3 Laura
    April 24, 2006

    Oh my that is terrible! I cannot beleive someone living in Miami would let a stranger in to do that. I wouldn’t do that even if the man could provide ID. What a perv I am glad he got busted. I can understand if a hospital sponsered a mobile machine or if you signed up for a nurse to come to your house I would understand. But I’m paranoid noone is coming into my house unexpectedly to do that.

  4. #4 JLem
    April 24, 2006

    don’t get me wrong – that guy is a cretin – but those ladies need to find themselves a brain. It’s one thing to have the wool pulled over your eyes and let the perv in to do a breast exam, but quite another to be convinced to undress so he could continue with a gynecological exam. I can’t believe he found two ignorami to go along with him.

  5. #5 steve
    April 25, 2006

    You don’t hear about the related story about the guy who went door to door offering free prostate exams, he was less successful

  6. #6 IndianCowboy
    April 25, 2006

    one of my classmates went to a halloween party as a mammogram machine (wore a box over his head and chest with a cutout that said ‘insert breasts here’. Surprisingly, no girl was fooled.

  7. #7 Meg Thornton
    April 27, 2006

    Okay, on the one hand, I can see how low incomes and high medical costs would make someone leap at the word “free”, but on the other, I’d certainly be asking to see some ID before I let *anyone* inside my house to perform any kind of examination on me. Admittedly, I’m in Australia, where breast exams for women over 40 or so are available freely, and where most medical tests are available through Medicare (oddly enough, a thin prep Pap smear isn’t one of them… the logic escapes me on that one).

    It should be common sense, though – you don’t allow a stranger inside your house without seeing at least some kind of proof of purpose. For people purporting to be associated with some governmental or large corporate entity, this is ID. If they won’t show it, they don’t come in the door.

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