More than eighty patients filed suit against a California women’s hospital for allegedly filming them while undressed and receiving medical care. These women claim that the secretly recorded footage includes them in stirrups receiving intimate medical procedures, sterilizations, and dilation and curettages after miscarriages, according to The Washington Post. The secret recordings took place over an 11-month period and could include up to 1,800 patients.
In response to the allegations, Sharp Grossmont Hospital concedes that computer monitors with “motion-activated cameras” were in three different operating rooms at the hospital during the time period. The hospital said the cameras were angled towards the “medication carts” and part of an investigation into missing narcotics at the hospital. While these “motion-activated” cameras were activated when sensing motion, they continued to record for long periods of time. This resulted in many patients have sensitive and personal medical procedures recorded without their permission. According to the lawsuit, these recordings showed patients “conscious and unconscious, partially robed on operating room tables, undergoing medical procedures and communicating with their doctors and medical personnel.”
A spokesperson from the hospital said the cameras were removed after 11 months and were not intended to record the patients. “Although the cameras were intended to record only individuals in front of the anesthesia carts removing drugs, others, including patients and medical personnel in the operating rooms, were at times visible to the cameras recorded,” the hospital said in a statement to the newspaper. While the statement said further comment would not be appropriate because of pending litigation, the hospital did say it “sincerely regret[s] that our efforts to ensure medication security may have caused any distress to those we serve.”
Understandably, the patients violated by the filming were not mollified by the hospital’s response. “It’s horrifying to think that, especially in today’s day and age of the ubiquity of videos on the internet, if one of those videos were to get in the wrong hands, there’s no controlling it. It takes your own medical care outside your control,” said one patient to CNN.