Women sue hospital over hidden cameras in gynae operating theatres

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More than 80 women recently filed a lawsuit against Sharp Grossmont Hospital in San Diego, California when they discovered they “were secretly recorded by hidden cameras installed in the hospital’s gynaecology operating rooms.” Legal Reader report that the suit itself was filed in California Supreme Court and alleges nearly “1,800 women were recorded in the three operating rooms at the hospital’s Women’s Centre” between July 2012 and June 2013.

The report says, according to the lawsuit, the hidden cameras recorded everything from emergency C-sections, births, miscarriages, sterilisations, hysterectomies, and many other types of private procedures. Additionally, the videos “depicted the women’s faces as they entered the hospital rooms for their operations, some were recorded undressing, and some were unconscious during the course of their procedures.” Of the more than 80 women, none were informed they were being recorded.

When commenting on the suit, attorney Allison Goddard said: “It’s such a shocking breach of patient privacy. I’ve talked to hundreds of women who were affected by it. The response is nearly universal: they just can’t believe it happened.” Goddard is representing the plaintiffs.

Explaining why the cameras were installed in the first place, John Cihomsky, a spokesperson for Sharp Grossmont, said the “cameras were installed on anaesthesia carts in the operating rooms to address a drug theft issue at the hospital…The purpose of the three cameras was to ensure patient safety by determining the cause of drugs missing from the carts.” He declined to comment further on the matter.

In addition to the privacy complaint, the suit is alleging “the hospital was grossly negligent in storing and protecting the recordings.” For example, many of the videos were allegedly “stored on desktop computers, some of which were not password-protected, the complaint states.” To make matters worse, the “hospital did not log who accessed the recordings, or when they accessed it.” On top of that, “the hospital destroyed at least half of the recordings, but could not confirm whether the files were recoverable.”

The complaint further states: “Sharp violated their right to privacy and breached its fiduciary duty in the most egregious way by secretly recording them, allowing non-medical personnel to view the recordings without making any effort to track who was viewing them, and then destroying some of the recordings.”

Legal Reader report

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