The New York Times recently reported on a landmark $190 million medical malpractice settlement reached between Johns Hopkins Hospital and more than 8,000 women whose pelvic exams had been secretly recorded by a resident obstetrician and gynecologist. The esteemed health care institution was charged with gross violation of doctor-patient trust in one of the largest malpractice claims of its kind.
According to allegations raised in a class action lawsuit against the hospital, Dr. Nikita A. Levy – a practicing OBGYN at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Community Medicine – recorded some 1,200 videos and 140 photos with a small, pen-like camera while he performed pelvic exams on his patients. The images and videos were later found on the doctor’s personal computer in his home.
Dr. Levy was fired by Johns Hopkins in 2013 after a colleague notified authorities about her suspicions. After turning in his camera to investigators, Dr. Levy committed suicide just ten days later.
Johns Hopkins pays $190 million medical malpractice settlement
Legal counsel for the plaintiffs said that thousands of women were traumatized by Dr. Levy’s actions, even though their faces were not captured in the videos or photos. “Some of these women needed counseling, they were sleepless, they were dysfunctional in the workplace, they were dysfunctional at home, they were dysfunctional with their mates. This breach of trust, this betrayal — this is how they felt,” commented one of the lead medical malpractice attorneys on the case.
Both FBI and local investigators found no evidence that Dr. Levy shared his recordings or photos with any other parties, but there is no definitive way to be sure. Sixty seven-year old Myra James had been a faithful patient of Dr. Levy for two decades, but has yet to return for a pelvic exam after news of his misconduct made headlines.
“You’re lying there, exposed. It’s violating and it’s horrible, and my trust is gone. Period,” she told the NY Daily News.
In the civil action, Johns Hopkins was accused of invasion of privacy, emotional distress and negligence in its supervision of Dr. Levy. The hospital released the following statement after the $190 million settlement was reached: “We assure you that one individual does not define Johns Hopkins. Johns Hopkins is defined by the tens of thousands of employees who come to work determined to provide world-class care for our patients and their families.”
Patients now have mistrust in the medical system
Many of Dr. Levy’s former patients “have dropped out of the medical system,” said one of their attorneys, who added that this deep mistrust has affected not only them, but their family members. Authorities speculate that the Baltimore OBGYN started recording his patients with a hidden camera pen or key fob around 2005.
If the Baltimore Circuit Court approves the malpractice settlement from Johns Hopkins, each claimant will be assessed individually to determine their part of the payout, after reviewing medical records and conducting personal interviews.
Though compensation may help some victims achieve a sense of closure, their lawyers claim the damage has already been done. “Many have had changes in their ability to focus, problems with sleeplessness. Some have had changes in their relationships with spouses and significant others.”
EKJ New York medical malpractice lawyers
If your privacy has been violated or you suffered at the hands of a negligent health care professional, you may be entitled to significant monetary damages. For a free legal consultation with our skilled New York medical malpractice lawyers, please call Edelman, Krasin & Jaye today.
Our attorneys have successfully tried medical malpractice lawsuit in NY and negotiated pre-trial settlements, helping our clients move forward with their lives. Call 1-800-469-7429 to schedule a free case evaluation.