By: Austin Kirk | Published: March 4th, 2013
Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore faces class action lawsuits filed on behalf of former patients of Dr. Nikita Levy, a gynecologist and obstetrician who allegedly photographed and videotaped patients with hidden cameras during examinations.
Dr. Levy was found dead in his home from an apparent suicide last month, days after he was confronted with allegations that a Johns Hopkins staff members reported he was illegally recording patients at the East Baltimore Medical Center, a community clinic that is part of the Johns Hopkins system, located near the main hospital in Baltimore City, Maryland.
After searching Levy’s home, law enforcement officials discovered thousands of photographs and videos secretly taken of patients, including recordings of private areas of their anatomy that were taken without patient knowledge or permission. These photos and videos were taken during much, if not all, of Dr. Levy’s more than 20 years as a physician with Johns Hopkins, according allegations raised in recently filed complaints.
Since information was reported about the unauthorized photographing and video recordings, many of which were taken with cameras hidden in exam rooms or inside the end of a pen, hundreds of women have contacted lawyers to help discover if they were recorded and to participate in a Johns Hopkins class action lawsuit for Dr. Levy patients as a result the hospital system’s failure to prevent this invasion of privacy.
Dr. Levy Patient Class Action Claims Johns Hopkins Failed to Prevent Recordings
One lawsuit filed last week in the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office of Maryland, which is a required step before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit under state statute, seeks class action status to represent hundreds of former patients of Dr. Nikita Levy pursuing damages against Johns Hopkins Hospital over the unauthorized recordings for invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence in failing to prevent the recordings at their clinic.
“As a result of Dr. Levy’s actions and a result of Johns Hopkins’ failure to prevent Dr. Levy’s actions, the Plaintiffs have suffered an outrageous invasion of their privacy and been subjected to extreme emotional distress and mental anguish,” according to the complaint filed by the Baltimore law firm Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC.
The lawsuit indicates that Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins Community Physicians should be held vicariously liable for Dr. Levy’s conduct and for the failure to properly supervise and oversee the OB/GYN physician.
A number of unusual or suspicious patterns of conduct by Dr. Levy have been identified by patients since information about the recordings was reported. The complaint alleges that Johns Hopkins and their staff should have recognized, reported and stopped the secret recordings long before they did.
Former patients have indicated that the examination table in Dr. Levy’s office was rearranged to face a wall and that Dr. Levy usually examined patients without a female staff member present or failing to offer patients to option of having a chaperone present, which is a recommended procedure by the American Medical Association (AMA) from the standpoint of ethics and prudence.
In addition to compensatory and punitive damages, the class action lawsuit also seeks injunctive relief to require Johns Hopkins to take steps to locate all of the secretly recorded photographs and videos, and identify patients in a manner that does not cause further psychological injury so that patients who were recorded can be notified. Upon the conclusion of legal actions and any criminal prosecution, the lawsuit also seeks to ensure that all photographs and videos are destroyed.