Trials & Litigation

Johns Hopkins to pay $190M to settle case over gynecologist's secret photos of patients during exams


Allegedly failing to supervise properly a longtime gynecologist who secretly took photos of his patients during pelvic examinations will cost a well-known Baltimore hospital $190 million.

That’s the amount Johns Hopkins Hospital has agreed to pay to settle a class action in Baltimore City Circuit Court by more than 9,000 former patients of Dr. Nikita Levy. It could be the largest settlement ever concerning sexual misconduct by a physician, according to the Baltimore Sun and the Los Angeles Times (sub. req.).

After a colleague became suspicious of a pencam Levy wore and reported him to the hospital last year, investigators determined that Levy had taken photos of patients without their knowledge or consent. He was fired by Johns Hopkins and committed suicide shortly afterward. The 54-year-old doctor had worked at the hospital for some 25 years.

Patients feared their photos had been shared online, but that does not appear to be the case. It also seems that Levy did not take photos of underage patients.

There were, however, allegations that he touched patients inappropriately and conducted unnecessary pelvic exams.

One victim, 67-year-old Myra James, told the Associated Press she has stopped getting pelvic exams after learning about Levy, who had been giving her annual exams for 20 years.

“I can’t bring myself to go back,” said James, who agreed to let the news agency use her name. “You’re lying there, exposed. It’s violating and it’s horrible, and my trust is gone. Period.”

Eight law firms are representing plaintiffs in the case, who were interviewed by a forensic psychologist and a post-traumatic stress specialist. Their assessment of the amount of trauma suffered by each woman will determine the amount of damages, assuming the settlement is approved by the judge in the case and goes forward, the AP article explains.

The hospital is expected to comment at an upcoming news conference.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Police say fired Johns Hopkins doc used pencam to take secret photos of patients”

ABAJournal.com: “Johns Hopkins pursues settlement in mandatory class action over gynecologist’s photos”

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