John Hopkins Hospital was ordered to pay $190 million after gynecologist Dr. Nikita Levy took secret videos and photos of more than 8,000 women. Dr. Levy reportedly used a pen-like camera that he wore around his neck to snap the images of female patients at the renowned hospital. Dr. Nikita Levy was fired last February just days after a John Hopkins Hospital employee told officials at the medical center about her suspicions. Ten days after the claims about the gynecologist taking photos and videos of approximately 8,000 women surfaced, Dr. Levy committed suicide.
The lawsuit agreement announced today is reportedly one of the largest sexual misconduct settlements involving a doctor in the history of the United States. No criminal charges were ever filed in the case, largely due to the gynecologist’s suicide, but the scandal shook the very foundation of one of the most respected hospitals in America.
The faces of Dr. Levy’s patients were not visible in any of the images or videos, but thousands of women still felt violated and traumatized by the revelations about their gynecologist. Due to the lack of identifying features shown in the John Hopkins doctor’s images, it was impossible to establish with certainty which patients were subjected to the gynecologist’s pen-like camera — or how often.
Jonathan Schochor, one of the attorneys for the patients in the case, had this to say about the $190 million settlement:
“All of these women were brutalized by this. Some of these women needed counseling, they were sleepless, they were dysfunctional in the workplace, they were dysfunctional in the home, they were dysfunctional with their mates. This breach of trust, this betrayal — this is how they felt.”
Before Dr. Nikita Levy was fired from John Hopkins, both Baltimore police officers and federal investigators discovered 140 images and 1,200 videos inside the physician’s home. The law enforcement officers found no evidence indicating the gynecologist had shared the hidden camera images with others.
Myra James, 67, had been a patient of Dr. Levy’s for two decades. Since the details of his sexual misconduct came to light, she had not gone back to a gynecologist. “I can’t bring myself to go back. You’re lying there, exposed. It’s violating and it’s horrible, and my trust is gone. Period,” James said.
Some of Dr. Levy’s patients told attorneys they had been verbally abused or inappropriately touched by the physician. Other women involved in the massive class action lawsuit said that they had been “regularly summoned” to the gynecologist’s office for “unnecessary pelvic exams.”
The John Hopkins Hospital lawsuit settlement involves eight law firms and is subject to final approval by a judge. A post traumatic stress specialist and a forensic psychologist interviewed each of Dr. Nikita Levy’s patients to determine their level of trauma. The trauma level will determine how large of a chunk of the landmark settlement each will receive.
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