Did you deliver a baby or have another type of surgical procedure at Sharp Grossmont Hospital Women’s Health Center (5555 Grossmont Center Drive, La Mesa, CA 91942) from July 2012 through June 2013? Do you know someone who was treated at Sharp Grossmont during this time frame? If so, you (or someone close to you) may have been videotaped without your knowledge or consent.
Garmo and Garmo is now accepting clients for the Sharp Grossmont Hospital breach of privacy lawsuit. Call our office today at 619-441-2500 to discuss your legal rights and options.
Class Action Lawsuit Alleges Hospital Privacy Laws were Violated at Sharp Grossmont Hospital
From July 2012 through June of 2013, Sharp Grossmont Hospital of La Mesa, California secretly recorded female patients in all three of its women’s center operating rooms. During this time, an estimated 15,000 videos were recorded on approximately 1,800 female patients. The women were recorded undergoing highly sensitive procedures in which they were frequently shown undressed, unconscious, and in very compromising positions.
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Sharp Grossmont Hospital for recording the videos without the women’s knowledge or consent, failing to keep these videos secure, and failing to ensure that they were permanently destroyed. When a patient is admitted to a hospital, they have the right to privacy in the expectation that the hospital will follow HIPAA compliance guidelines and California privacy laws. Sharp Grossmont not only failed to protect the privacy rights of its patients, they also did little or nothing to prevent the secretly recorded videos from being accessed by outsiders.
The hospital says that they installed the hidden cameras as part of an internal investigation into the theft of propofol, an anesthesia drug, and in an effort to catch the person who was allegedly stealing this drug. However, these cameras recorded everything that happened in these operating rooms whenever anyone entered the room.
They recorded women giving birth and undergoing caesarean sections, hysterectomies, and other gynecological procedures. Women frequently had their genitals exposed and their faces were shown on camera as they went through some of the most painful, sensitive, and emotionally trying moments of their lives. Whatever the original purpose of the recordings, the hospital most certainly knew (or should have known) the sensitive nature of these videos, and they should have done everything possible to keep them secured. Sadly, they did not.
The Sharp Grossmont’s Video Recordings Could be Anywhere
Stunningly, the videos of the female patients that were secretly recorded were stored on desktop computers that multiple users had access to. What’s worse, the videos were not even password-protected, and there was no tracking system in place to find out who was accessing them and for what reason.
Someone could have transferred the videos to a thumb drive and distributed them to their friends in public on the internet somewhere. But because users did not have to log in and out of a secured location to access the videos, we will never know for sure who viewed the videos, what was done with them, and where they might have ended up.
Many of the desktop computers in which the videos were stored have since been refreshed or replaced, and as a result, a large number of these videos have apparently been lost or destroyed. Approximately 7,000 of the 15,000 or so videos have been retained, and if yours is one of them, we can help you obtain a copy of that recording.
Former Sharp Grossmont Doctor Corroborates Lawsuit Claims
Dr. Patrick Sullivan is the former chief of anesthesia at Sharp Grossmont. He says he was fired after bringing the secret recordings to the attention of hospital management. Dr. Sullivan alleges that it took the hospital more than 100 days after he informed the management to stop making the recordings in March of 2013. He said he discovered the cameras in the women’s center again in 2016 and was forced to resign after once again pointing this out to management.
Dr. Sullivan told Fox 5 San Diego:
“In response to the national attention focused on the secret recordings of women during their most private moments at Sharp Grossmont Hospital, I want the world to know their claims are absolutely valid,”
The unlawful recording of video footage without the consent of female patients and the failure to properly secure these videos amounts to gross negligence. The fact that these videos could have been seen by multiple users and may have even leaked out to the public has inflicted untold damage on the women who entrusted Sharp Grossmont to provide quality care and protect their privacy during some of the most private moments in their lives.
Because of this breach of privacy, the women affected have suffered all types of emotional harm; which includes mental anguish, worry, anxiety, nervousness, shock, horror, grief, humiliation, embarrassment, shame, depression, and feelings of powerlessness. Every woman who was affected by this breach deserves to be compensated, and it is important to hold Sharp Grossmont fully accountable, so no hospital in California will ever do anything like this to women again.
Call Garmo and Garmo Today to Join the Sharp Grossmont Hospital Lawsuit
If you or someone close to you was treated at Sharp Grossmont Hospital Women’s Health Center between July 2012 and June 2013, you may have a right to compensation. Nearly 100 women have already signed on to the class action lawsuit against the hospital, and you are not alone in this fight. To discuss your legal rights and options, call Garmo and Garmo today at 619-441-2500 or message us through our online contact form for a free consultation. You may also stop by our El Cajon office in person at your convenience.