(NaturalNews) One of the world's most well-known medical institutions broke headlines recently after a former doctor who worked within the system was caught inappropriately filming and photographing his patients. The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health system has reportedly agreed to pay out $190 million in settlement damages to more than 8,000 women and girls who say they were violated by Dr. Nikita Levy, a gynecologist who filmed their genitals with a secret pen camera during office visits.
According to reports, Levy was fired back in February 2013 after a co-worker alerted authorities to his deviant behavior, which involved capturing and storing roughly 1,200 videos and 140 images of his patients' private parts on a series of computer servers at his home. Upon investigation, it was revealed that Levy had used a discreet, pen-like camera that he hung from his neck to capture the images during procedures, a disturbing fact that, once revealed publicly, led to him committing suicide just days later.
Following the release of this information, Levy's former patients began to come forward with admissions about inappropriate touching and other unacceptable behavior that occurred while under his care. Some of the women said they were verbally abused by Levy, while others claim they were called into his office for unnecessary checkups, which they later learned was a ploy to take advantage of them while in very vulnerable positions.
"All of these women were brutalized by this," revealed Jonathan Schochor, the women's lead attorney, in a statement. "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. This breach of trust, this betrayal -- this is how they felt."
Traumatized patients to receive compensation from Johns Hopkins
According to The Baltimore Sun, Levy wrote an apology letter to his wife before proceeding to wrap his head in a plastic bag filled with helium, in the basement of his Towson, Maryland-area home. Besides the letter, Levy left behind multiple hard drives, computers and servers containing the obscene images, which were obtained by local law enforcement during a subsequent investigation.
"I can't bring myself to go back," stated 67-year-old Myra James, a former patient of Levy's for more than 20 years, to the Associated Press (AP). James has stopped going to a gynecologist altogether due to the emotional trauma of having been victimized by Levy. "You're lying there, exposed. It's violating and it's horrible, and my trust is gone. Period."
Since most of the images and video do not reveal patients' faces, but only their genitals, it is difficult to determine the full scope of who was victimized. But the class action suit filed on behalf of the 8,000 female patients who were potentially victimized was enough to get Johns Hopkins to take some responsibility for the matter, as they will all now receive compensation for their injuries.
"What is the normal expected reaction of a patient of an OB-GYN who finds out that her doctor, who she intimately trusts... secretly videotaped and took photographs of his patients?" asked Schochor. "Is it appropriate for that patient to believe she was included? It is."