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Patients recoil at news on USC doctor

Harriet Ryan, Matt Hamilton, Sarah Parvini and Paul Pringle, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES--When Chelsea Wu walked into Dr. George Tyndall's exam room at the University of Southern California's student health clinic, she was 19 and, in her own words, "naive." The sophomore had never seen a doctor without her parents by her side and had never been to a gynecologist.

"I was blindly trusting of doctors. I pretty much followed whatever they say," Wu recalled.

During the 2016 appointment, Tyndall asked prying questions about her sex life, showed prolonged interest in her Chinese heritage and made comments about the tone of her pelvic muscle as he thrust his fingers inside her, Wu said.

Still, Wu shrugged off the experience until she read the Los Angeles Times' article Tuesday detailing how the university received years of reports about inappropriate behavior by Tyndall before quietly forcing him out last summer.

"I thought it was normal. Being so young, I didn't have a framework for what was acceptable," said Wu, who received an undergraduate degree last year and will attend USC's Gould School of Law in the fall.

As revelations about Tyndall reverberated through the USC community, a generation of alumnae were grappling with the news that the physician who served as the campus clinic's only full-time gynecologist for nearly 30 years is now accused of serial misconduct. Women who attended USC from the 1990s onward found themselves reassessing appointments with Tyndall and often recoiling. The Times spoke to more than a dozen alumnae.

"Every female friend I had, had contact with him," said 2017 graduate Ariel Sobel, who saw Tyndall three times, starting when she was 18. "All of us are trying to figure out if we had been abused."

Tyndall, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday, has denied wrongdoing and said his exams were appropriate and thorough.

Current and former students were sharing memories of the gynecologist in phone calls, group texts and social media. Some were poring over their medical records.

An attorney who attended USC for her undergraduate and law degrees from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s said she saw Tyndall about three times a year while she studied there. She spoke on the condition of anonymity and said the physician, her first regular gynecologist, often made lewd remarks.

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