When it comes to trusted advisors, health care providers rank at the top of the list. We must trust these individuals to look after our health and well-being. To allow our doctors to treat and monitor us, we share some of the most intimate and private aspects of our lives and bodies. When this trust is betrayed, the results can be devastating. Recently, Johns Hopkins Hospital agreed to pay $190 million to settle claims from thousands of women. These women may have been recorded during pelvic exams performed by gynecologist Dr. Nikita A. Levy and suffered substantial harm as a result.
During the investigation, investigators found more than 1,300 videos and images of patients in Dr. Levy’s home and office. Attorneys for the women estimate that more than 8,000 patients could have a claim against the doctor. Since the women could not be identified from the images, all former patients are potential victims. Many victims suffered from the following as a result:
- Feelings of betrayal
- Invasion of doctor-patient confidentiality
- Feelings of lack of trust
- Patients refusing to see male OB-GYN’s, or any OB-GYN at all, putting their health at risk
- Patients no longer seeing their primary care physicians, putting their health at risk
- Patients no longer bringing their children to the doctor, putting the health of their children at risk
Patients allege that the Hospital knew or should have known that this was happening, and that Dr. Levy’s actions fall within the scope of his employment. Dr. Levy was terminated by the Hospital on February 8, 2013, after allegations of secret surveillance were brought to the attention of Hospital officials. A female colleague reported her suspicions based on a pen that the doctor wore around his neck.
The Hospital, when releasing its statement about the settlement, expressed the hope that the financial settlement, law enforcement’s investigation, and the fact that the images were never shared with other parties will bring some measure of comfort to victims.
The attorneys at Kaufman Law extend our sympathies to the victims of this doctor’s horrifying breach of doctor-patient confidentiality. To learn more about the settlement as it unfolds, we encourage you to find and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.