When you enter a medical facility to give birth or have an operation, the last thing you expect is for these private moments to be videotaped. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to nearly 1,800 patients at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa between July 2012 and June 2013. During this time, hidden cameras were set up in three operating rooms as part of an internal investigation into drug theft at the hospital. The cameras contained motion sensors and secretly filmed not only hospital staff, but everything that happened in the rooms, including women giving birth.
While the offending individual was identified and the surveillance methods haven’t been used since, dozens of women who were videotaped are outraged that their most intimate and private moments were captured on camera. At least three lawsuits have already been filed against Sharp Grossmont Hospital on behalf of female patients who were filmed without their consent. The most recent lawsuit alleges that Sharp breached patient trust, violated the standard of care, and failed to secure the video footage. The hospital provided the tapes to the California Medical Board without notifying affected patients.
Here’s what you need to know about the Sharp invasion of privacy lawsuit and what to do if you think you may have been filmed without your consent.
Who was affected?
If you gave birth or underwent an operation at Sharp Grossmont Hospital between July 2012 and June 2013, your procedure may have been secretly videotaped without your consent. Sharp notified 1,788 patients that they were filmed in hospital operating rooms during this time period.
What do the video tapes contain?
The videos taken in operating rooms at Sharp Grossmont Hospital contain recordings of around 1,800 procedures including C-section deliveries, hysterectomies, pelvic floor repairs, surgical treatments after miscarriage, and more. The cameras also captured patients dressing and undressing and recorded exposed intimate areas, including parts of their genitals and breasts. In some of the recordings, the patients were under anesthesia and unconscious.
What happened to the videos?
The video footage was negligently stored on hospital computers that were used by multiple people; many of the computers were not password protected. A spokesperson for Sharp said a handful of people in the hospital’s security, legal, and clinical departments reviewed the footage, and some videos were released in response to subpoenas and court orders associated with the lawsuits.
Because of the reckless way in which the videos were stored, there is no way of knowing exactly who viewed them and whether they got into the wrong hands. Sharp officials allege that about half of the 15,000 videos were deleted in 2013 when hospital computers were “refreshed.” At Harlan Law, we can help locate and obtain any remaining videos that may exist of you.
Why did Sharp do this?
Sharp officials claim the hospital set up hidden cameras in three operating rooms as part of an effort to identify a doctor who was stealing anesthesia drugs. However, because of the way the cameras were positioned, other people, including patients, their families, and other medical personnel, were visible to the cameras and recorded. Shortly after the recordings began, the head of security at Sharp reportedly told the CEO that the video footage would not provide sufficient evidence to confront the individual suspected of stealing drugs. Despite this advice, the hospital continued to record patients in their most vulnerable state for nearly a year.
Do I need to hire a lawyer?
If you were a patient of Sharp Grossmont Hospital between July 2012 and June 2013 and were filmed without your consent, you can file a lawsuit against the hospital for money damages. A lawyer can assist you with this process, including filing the proper paperwork, representing you in and out of court, and fighting the defense on your behalf.
Were you impacted by the Sharp invasion of privacy videos?
Realizing that you were captured on video during private, intimate moments with your doctor is extremely upsetting. In times like these, it can be difficult to know where to turn and who you can trust. At Harlan Law, our attorneys can take the burden off of your shoulders by filing a lawsuit against Sharp Grossmont Hospital for violating your privacy. Your initial consultation is free, and there are never any up-front or out-of-pocket costs for legal representation.
Call us today to speak to an attorney about how you can take legal action against Sharp Grossmont Hospital and seek compensation for the violation of your privacy.