The anesthesiologist at the center of a scandal involving a hospital that videotaped thousands of women in compromised positions is no longer facing theft charges.
The Medical Board of California recently dropped the theft charges against anesthesiologist Adam Dorin, MD, who had been accused of stealing drugs at Sharp Grossmont Hospital’s Women’s Health Center in La Mesa, CA. Suspicions of drug theft led to a 2012 sting operation in which the hospital used video cameras to try to catch a thief in the act. The hospital mounted video cameras inside computer monitors attached to mobile anesthesia machines in its ORs to detect anyone stealing sedatives from the carts, according to a statement released by the hospital. The hospital claims the recordings show Dorin putting vials of propofol and other drugs in his scrub top pocket. Hospital leaders suspended Dorin after viewing the footage, but relented when other physicians confirmed his explanation that propofol was in such short supply that they often hoarded the drug for emergency use.
The hospital continued the surveillance for a year until administrators realized the footage violated patient privacy in some instances, including women undergoing cesarean sections. The patients did not know they were being recorded, the hospital stated. The hospital reports that there are approximately 14,000 video clips in all.
After the Medical Board of California investigated and filed a formal accusation against Dorin, his defense attorney requested access to the hospital recordings. He found instances in which female patients could be identified in the recordings. When patients became aware that the videotapes had been made without their consent, many of them filed a class-action civil suit against the hospital. The suit is still pending. (The class action lawsuit is available online at: http://bit.ly/2e3tcBM.)
The board let stand two unrelated charges and is still seeking the suspension or revocation of Dorin’s medical license for allegedly having sent fraudulent e-mails in 2012. The board claims he sent the emails to the employer of his girlfriend’s husband, in an attempt to give her leverage in divorce proceedings. (For more on the case, see “Drug Diversion Sting Goes Wrong and Privacy Is Questioned,” Healthcare Risk Management, July 2016, at: http://bit.ly/2cU5KFW.)