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A California hospital has apologized to more than 80 women who filed a class-action suit claiming the facility recorded them during gynecological procedures without their knowledge or consent.
The hospital had been trying to catch someone who was stealing drugs from anesthesia carts on the surgical unit, and the motion-activated cameras inadvertently recorded women during clinical care in three operating rooms.
The surveillance continued for a year and captured more than 14,000 video clips before administrators realized the cameras were recording patients and removed them.
“Although the cameras were intended to record only individuals in front of the anesthesia carts, others, including patients and medical personnel in the operating rooms, were at times visible to the cameras and recorded without sound,” according to the statement issued recently by the hospital. (The hospital’s statement can be found at: https://bit.ly/2v9Ia3v.)
More than 80 women filed a class-action lawsuit in 2016, including one who said her emergency cesarean section was recorded by the cameras. The video recordings were kept in a “secured safe” until they were turned over as part of a state investigation and the civil litigation, the hospital said.
The cameras did catch the person stealing drugs, and that person is no longer associated with the hospital, the statement said.
For more on the case, see “Drug Diversion Sting Goes Wrong And Privacy Is Questioned” in the July 2016 issue of Healthcare Risk Management, available at: https://bit.ly/2uSQS6j.
Financial Disclosure: Author Greg Freeman, Editor Jill Drachenberg, Editor Jesse Saffron, Editorial Group Manager Terrey L. Hatcher, and Nurse Planner Maureen Archambault report no consultant, stockholder, speaker’s bureau, research, or other financial relationships with companies having ties to this field of study. Consulting Editor Arnold Mackles, MD, MBA, LHRM, discloses that he is an author and advisory board member for The Sullivan Group and that he is owner, stockholder, presenter, author, and consultant for Innovative Healthcare Compliance Group.