More than 80 women file suit over hidden hospital cameras

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Some of the women who were recorded on hidden cameras at Sharp Grossmont Hospital are speaking out. More than 80 women are listed as plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging that their privacy was violated by the use of secret cameras in the hospital’s Women’s Center.

Dandi Simmons gave birth to her second child by Cesarean section at the hospital in December of 2012. She learned last year, from a notice sent by Sharp HealthCare that her C-section was one of 1,800 procedures that were recorded in the eleven month period from July of 2012 to July of 2013.

When she was notified about the cameras, Simmons said she felt “sick, and violated, angry, just a bunch of different emotions.”

Amanda Flores was in the hospital in February, 2013 to give birth by C-section to her daughter. She said she also felt violated when told about the secret camera in the operating room.

” I don’t know who’s seen the video. I don’t know exactly why they have the video, and what they’ve done with it. so, it’s scary,” Flores said.

The hospital decided to install a camera on the anesthesia computer monitor in each of the center’s operating rooms because of suspicions that someone was stealing the painkiller, Propofol from the anesthesia carts.

Dr. Patrick Sullivan, a doctor who worked as a hospital anesthesiologist was the first to notice the cameras and warned hospital administrators that their use was a violation of patient privacy.

Sullivan told KUSI this week that there was no thief to capture. Because of a nationwide shortage of Propofol at the time, Sullivan said doctors were transferring the drug from operating rooms in the Women’s Center to operating rooms in other parts of the hospital.

“The whole Propofol ‘investigation’ was a big boondoggle. There was nobody taking Propofol,” Sullivan said.

Attorney Allison Worden who is representing the patients said Sharp HealthCare and the hospital clearly breached privacy rights by failing to tell the women about the cameras.

“Our understanding is that Sharp did provide notice to roughly 1,800 women, so what that means to us, is there were 1,800 women whose procedures were memorialzied by that videotape,” Worden said.

Sharp HealthCare did not offer any direct comment on the lawsuit, but said the surveillance methods in 2012-2013 were used only for that particular case and have not been used again.

In a statement released this week, the health care company said, “We sincerely regret that our efforts to ensure medication security may have caused any distress to those we serve.”

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Lawsuit alleges Sharp Grossmont Hospital secretly recorded women during childbirth and surgery

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