Dozens of women have sued a California hospital for allegedly recording them in gynecology operating rooms without their consent or knowledge.
BuzzFeed News reports that 81 women have sued Sharp Grossmont Hospital, alleging that approximately 1,800 women were recorded in three rooms at the hospital’s Women’s Center between July 17, 2012, and June 30, 2013. Women’s faces were filmed as they entered the operating rooms before—and cameras captured some of them enduring miscarriages, hysterectomies, and C-sections.
The attorney representing the women suing the hospital, Allison Goddard, told BuzzFeed News that most of the women were typically filmed from behind and sometimes their stomachs and the tops of their thighs were filmed. Goddard alleged that some of these women were taped while they gave birth or saw their baby for the first time.
“For some women, it was the happiest day of their lives, and for some, it was the saddest,” she said.
The lawsuit alleges that non-employees had access to these recordings on desktop computers and that the hospital didn’t track who accessed the footage or when. The lawsuit claims that the hospital said they destroyed “at least half” of these videos but hasn’t provided proof that the files are unrecoverable as the facility didn’t guarantee they were properly deleted, according to KGTV.
“There are images contained within the multitude of images of women undergoing operations of a very personal, private nature, unconscious and in states of exposure depending on the operation being performed,” the lawsuit said, citing the comments of an unnamed hospital official.
The plaintiffs are seeking damages for invasion of privacy, negligence, unlawful recording of confidential information, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and breach of fiduciary privacy.
In a statement issued to the news station, Sharp HealthCare officials declined to comment on the latest litigation but said a lawsuit stemming from the apparent privacy violations was filed in 2016.
“Sharp Grossmont Hospital installed and operated one hidden camera on the anesthesia cart located in each of three operating rooms in the Women’s Center. The purpose of the three cameras was to ensure patient safety by determining the cause of drugs missing from the carts,” they explained. “Sharp HealthCare and Sharp Grossmont Hospital continue to take extensive measures to protect the privacy of its patients.”
[Featured image: Pixabay]