Shared Patient Videos Lead to Class Action against Sharp Grossmont Hospital

On May 24, 2016, a class-action complaint was filed against Sharp Healthcare in San Diego, California, alleging violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Specifically, the complaint alleges that Sharp secretly recorded approximately 15,000 videos of patients in Sharp’s year-long attempt to build a case against an anesthesiologist allegedly stealing the drug Propofol. Sharp allowed security guards to review the recordings, and released 14 of the recordings to the anesthesiologist’s defense attorney. Many of the videos depicted unconscious patients, nudity, Cesarean sections, or other surgeries.

The named plaintiff, Melissa Escalera, was allegedly filmed during a Cesarean section. The class potentially includes more than 1,000 patients secretly recorded by Sharp between July 2012 and June 2013. The complaint seeks class certification and damages for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of confidentiality, unlawful recording of confidential information, negligent creation and maintenance of medical information, unlawful disclosure of medical information, invasion of privacy, and distribution of private sexually explicit materials.

We will continue to monitor this story as it develops.

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