My heart goes out to all the patients of this horrible doctor who had their trust of doctors completely violated and exploited. We all want to implicitly trust our doctors and think that they always have the best intentions for us. Unfortunately for over 8,000 women in the Baltimore, Maryland area, this is not so…
Johns Hopkins Hospital will pay out $190 million to more than 8,000 patients of a gynecologist who had covertly photographed and videotaped women in the examining room with a pen-like camera he wore around his neck.
Dr. Nikita Levy was let go in February 2013, days after a co-worker alerted authorities at Johns Hopkins Health System about her suspicions. He was forced to turn over the camera, and committed suicide days later. Investigators discovered roughly 1,200 videos and 140 images stored on a series of servers in his home.
The agreement is one of the largest settlements on record in the U.S. involving sexual misconduct by a physician.
A class-action lawsuit on behalf of more than 8,000 of his patients who contacted lawyers was brought against Johns Hopkins last fall, alleging the hospital should have known what he was up to. Some women told of being inappropriately touched and verbally abused by Levy. Others told of how they were regularly summoned to Levy’s office for unnecessary pelvic exams. All of these women were brutalized by this,” said the women’s lead attorney, Jonathan Schochor. “Some of these women needed counseling, they were sleepless, they were dysfunctional in the workplace, they were dysfunctional at home, they were dysfunctional with their mates. ”
The settlement, involving eight law firms, is subject to final approval by a judge. A forensic psychologist and a post-traumatic stress specialist interviewed the plaintiffs and placed each woman into a category based on trauma level. That will determine how much money each one will receive.
Levy, 54, graduated from Cornell University and had been employed at Hopkins since 1988. When the allegations came to light, he was working at Hopkins East Baltimore Medical Center, a community practice affiliated with Johns Hopkins Hospital. During his 25-year tenure, he saw roughly 12,600 patients.
Lawyers for the patients say there is no way to identify which patients were recorded without having them “sit around a table and try to identify sexual organs without pictures of faces,” something that would be impossible and could cause the women more distress.
Hopkins sent out letters to his entire patient list last year apologizing to the women and urging them to seek care with other Hopkins specialists.
But hundreds were so traumatized that they “dropped out of the medical system,” and some even stopped sending their children to doctors, Schochor said.