As details continue to surface in the case of the Johns Hopkins Hospital gynecologist accused of secretly recording patient exams, former patients anxiously wait to hear if they have been identified in any recordings and if those recordings have been distributed in any form. Many have approached medical malpractice lawyers and advocacy groups to find out what kind of recourse is available to them.
Dr. Levy's activities were discovered after a co-worker contacted the Johns Hopkins security department with her suspicions in early February. An internal investigation determined that Dr. Nikita Levy, a longtime employee of the hospital, had been surreptitiously videotaping patients, possibly for years. Police discovered multiple cameras in one of the clinic's examination rooms and removed ten computer hard drives from Dr. Levy's home. Within days of his termination from Johns Hopkins Dr. Levy took his own life.
Investigators are just beginning the long process of identifying victims by matching appointment schedules with video time stamps. As more victims are notified, the number of medical malpractice lawsuits is likely to escalate. Already two former patients of Dr. Levy have filed lawsuits against him and his employer. The first suit contains claims of medical malpractice, invasion of privacy, and negligent hiring and supervision by Johns Hopkins. It also seeks an additional $5 million in damages for intentional misrepresentation. The second lawsuit seeks $10 million in damages for each count of negligence and medical malpractice. Attorneys are hoping to have this suit approved as a class action, a case in which a large group collectively brings a claim to court. It is estimated that Dr. Levy saw over 1000 patients in 25 years of practice, making it likely that a number of these patients would join such a suit.
In a typical medical malpractice case, attorneys seek to prove that a doctor's behavior falls below the "standard of care," or what a reasonable health professional would do under similar circumstances. It's clear that Dr. Levy's actions were far below the standard of care, but malpractice is only one of the claims likely to be filed in this case. The complexity of the legal issues associated with the amount of electronic evidence in the investigation as well as charges of child pornography (in exams of minors), video voyeurism, and malpractice, point to many lawsuits against the doctor for years to come
The Washington Post, "Patients shared secrets, trusted doctor who allegedly videotaped them," 2-19-13
The Baltimore Sun, "Two patients file lawsuits against gynecologist Levy, Johns Hopkins," 2-22-13