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According to allegations raised in a class action lawsuit filed in California, hundreds of women were secretly recorded during various gynecological procedures at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in El Cajon.
The complaint was filed in state court on Friday, by a group of 81 plaintiffs who indicate they were among about 1,800 patients that were secretly recorded at Sharp Grossmont Hospital July 17, 2012 and June 30, 2013, as a result of hidden cameras placed on drug carts in three labor and delivery rooms.
According to the lawsuit, women were recorded during Cesarean births, hysterectomies, sterilizations, dilations, and while dressing and undressing.
An initial lawsuit was filed in 2016 over the incident, but class action certification was denied at that time. A motion for summary judgment by the hospital was also denied.
This new complaint indicates that the cameras were motion-activated, but would continue to record even after motion had stopped. The lawsuit also claims several hospital staff members had access to the footage through other computers, and that the hospital never tracked who accessed the footage.
“Sharp was grossly negligent in maintaining the recordings. The recordings were stored on desktop computers that could be accessed by multiple users, some without the need for a password,” the lawsuit states. “Sharp did not log or track who accessed the recordings, why, or when. Sharp destroyed at least half of the recordings but cannot say when or how it deleted those filed and cannot confirm that it took the appropriate steps to ensure the files were not otherwise recoverable.”
The hospital admits that the recordings occurred, indicating that the hidden cameras were placed to find someone who had been stealing drugs from the carts. However, hospital officials maintain that the videos were securely stored.
“Between July 2012 and June 2013, 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,” an official statement from the hospital states. “The purpose of the three cameras was to ensure patient safety by determining the cause of drugs missing from the carts.”
The lawsuit presents claims of invasion of privacy, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, negligent inflection of emotional distress, and unlawful recording of confidential information.