More than 80 women have filed a lawsuit against a California hospital for allegedly recording them without their knowledge during childbirth or while undergoing surgery.
According to the lawsuit filed Friday in a California Supreme Court, 81 women claimed that their privacy was invaded — without their knowledge — when they were secretly recorded during procedures at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa between July 2012 and June 2013, the New York Post reported.
The lawsuit accused the hospital of filming the women while they were "undergoing operations of a very personal private nature."
The hospital said motion-activated laptop cameras were installed in the gynecology department's operating rooms after drugs went missing from anesthesia carts.
The cameras reportedly captured more than 15,000 videos and allegedly recorded about 1,800 women over the nearly yearlong surveillance period.
What did the hospital say?
The cameras were intended to catch those who were stealing medications, Sharp Healthcare said in a statement Monday.
Between July 2012 and June 2013, a computer monitor with a motion-activated camera was installed in each of Sharp Grossmont Hospital's three Women's Center operating rooms, where it was previously detected that powerful drugs were missing from the anesthesia carts," the company wrote. The three cameras were installed and operated to ensure patient safety by identifying the person or persons responsible for the removal of the drugs. 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 and recorded.
Sharp HealthCare and Sharp Grossmont Hospital continue to take extensive measures to protect the privacy of our patients. The surveillance methods in the 2012-13 investigation were used for this particular case only and have not been used again. We sincerely regret that our efforts to ensure medication security may have caused any distress to those we serve.
Sharp Healthcare said that it could make no further comment about the lawsuit since a separate class-action lawsuit filed in 2016 remained active.