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 between July 2012 and June 2013 at the Women’s Health Center at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, California. Sharp Healthcare is based in San Diego, California.
During this time, the hospital set up hidden cameras in three operating rooms as part of an internal investigation into drug theft. The cameras contained motion sensors and secretly filmed not only hospital staff, but everything that happened in the rooms, including women giving birth.
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 claims that Sharp Grossmont Hospital:
- 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.
Did you have a procedure at Sharp Grossmont Hospital between July 2012 and June 2013? If you think you may have been filmed without your consent during that time, call our experienced invasion of privacy lawyers now at (619) 870-0802.
Who Was Affected at Sharp Grossmont Hospital?
If you gave birth or had an operation at the Women’s Health Center of 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 Sharp Grossmont Videotapes Contain?
Videos taken without patients’ knowledge or consent in the operating rooms at Sharp Grossmont Hospital contain recordings of around 1,800 procedures, including:
- Patients giving birth
- C-section deliveries
- Pelvic floor repairs
- Permanent birth control procedures
- Surgical treatments after miscarriage
- And more.
The cameras also captured:
- Patients entering and leaving the operating rooms
- Patients dressing and undressing
- Recordings of actual surgical treatment
- Recordings of exposed intimate areas, including genitals and breasts
- Patients under anesthesia and unconscious
- Friends or family members who came with the patient
According to lawsuits that have already been filed, these recordings included patients’ faces in a way that they were clearly identifiable.
What Happened to the Recordings?
To make matters worse, the video footage was negligently stored on hospital computers that were used by multiple people. Many of the computers were not password protected. And the hospital kept the footage for a long period of time.
A spokesperson for Sharp Grossmont Hospital said a handful of people in the hospital’s security, legal, and clinical departments reviewed the footage. 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 Grossmont officials claim that about half of the 15,000 videos were deleted in 2013 when hospital computers were “refreshed.”
Harlan Law can help locate and obtain any remaining videos that may exist of you.
Why Did Sharp Record Patients on Video?
Sharp officials claim the hospital set up hidden cameras in three operating rooms in an effort to identify who was stealing anesthesia drugs.
However, because of the way the cameras were positioned, other people – including patients, their families, and various 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 person suspected of stealing drugs. Despite this advice, the hospital continued to record patients in their most vulnerable state for nearly one year.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer?
If you were a patient of Sharp Grossmont Hospital between July 2012 and June 2013 and you were filmed without your consent, you can file a lawsuit against the hospital for money damages. Your best option is to hire an experienced local invasion of privacy attorney for this process.
Dozens of women have already come forward. Potentially hundreds more will pursue claims to hold Sharp Grossmont accountable.
Harlan Law 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.
Patients Have Rights
Every patient has a reasonable expectation of privacy during their medical care. HIPAA – the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act – legally protects patients’ information.
Under HIPAA and other privacy standards, any sensitive material like videos of medical procedures would have to be tightly secured.
Sharp Grossmont Hospital also has its own list of patient’s rights, which promise:
- Full consideration of privacy for patients in the medical care program
- Confidential and discreet case discussion, examination, and treatment
- Personal privacy to be respected for all patients
- Confidentiality for all communications and records concerning patient care
- Medical records won’t be shared without patients’ written permission
If Sharp Grossmont violated your privacy, you could be entitled to monetary damages.
Harlan Law is filing lawsuits on behalf of patients who were violated by Sharp Grossmont’s negligent actions. We fight for patients’ rights.
Talk to an Attorney About Your Rights for Free
Finding out that you were captured on video during private, intimate moments with your doctor is shocking and upsetting. The negligent way these private moments were handled in the years after is even more troubling. Especially in today’s digital age, media can become impossible to control if it falls into the wrong hands or gets published publically.
It can be difficult to know where to turn and who you can trust. But you have rights as a patient and our experienced lawyers are here to fight for you.
Harlan Law 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 with our contingency fee structure, you’ll never have to pay any up-front or out-of-pocket costs for legal representation.
Call us today at (619) 870-0802 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.