A person entering a medical facility as a patient may have many reasons for doing so: medical consultation, childbirth, surgery or some other necessary procedure. No matter the purpose, all patients, whether in Louisiana or elsewhere, have the right to expect privacy during such times. However, at least 80 women have filed a lawsuit against a hospital in another state, accusing the facility of hospital negligence, as well as invasion of privacy and the unlawful recording of private information.
The patients discovered the medical facility had installed cameras in three of its operating rooms, and a class-action lawsuit was originally filed against the hospital in 2016. The women allege they were recorded during various procedures, some including childbirth, without their knowledge or consent. Reportedly, a court denied the class-action certification, but at least 80 women recently refiled. According to the lawsuit, the hospital recorded 1,800 patients, both conscious and unconscious and in partial states of undress, between July 2012 and June 2013.
According to court documents, the hospital claims it placed the hidden cameras in the operating rooms, intending to catch an employee suspected of stealing powerful drugs from anesthesia carts. The hospital has explained that the motion-activated cameras were positioned to record only individuals in front of the carts, but at times medical personnel and patients were visible in the videos. They stated that this particular surveillance method has not been used since then. According to the lawyer handling the lawsuit, the hospital continued to use the cameras two months after it had identified the source of the missing drugs, and it failed to provide details around deletion of the videos.
Hospital negligence can come in many forms. This medical facility claims it was simply trying to ensure medication safety on its premises. However, because of the surveillance methods, dozens of patients are left feeling embarrassed and exposed in an environment in which they should feel safe in knowing their privacy is protected. Louisiana residents who believe they have also been victims of some form of hospital negligence could benefit from speaking with a medical malpractice attorney to discuss their legal options.