‘Mortified’ women sue over hidden hospital cameras that recorded births in California

Screengrab from KGTV video

A newly filed lawsuit says a California hospital secretly recorded up to 1,800 women giving birth and undergoing other procedures in three operating rooms in El Cajon from 2012 to 2013, KGTV reported.

Eighty-one women who say they were recorded without their permission while ”emotionally and physically exposed” filed suit Friday against Sharp Grossmont Hospital, KNSD reported.

A class-action suit against the hospital over the videos also has been pending since 2016, The New York Times reported.

“I was mortified at the idea that there was video or images of me in that extremely vulnerable and exposed moment,” said patient Carla Jones, who underwent an emergency c-section at the facility, KABC reported.

Sharp Grossmont Hospital says it placed motion-sensitive cameras on anesthesia carts in three operating rooms at its El Cajon women’s center between July 17, 2012, and June 30, 2013, KGTV reported.

The hospital says in court documents that it was trying to catch someone stealing propofol, an anesthetic, from the carts, according to the station.

“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,” a hospital statement read, The New York Times reported.

The suit says the cameras captured deliveries, Caesarean births, hysterectomies, sterilizations, miscarriages and other procedures, including patients dressing and undressing, KNSD reported. Some of the women’s faces are visible, the suit says.

“I am a mom of four girls. I lead by example,” patient Jessica Lincoln said, according to the station. ”I’m a pretty black and white person as far as what is right and what is wrong, and this is wrong.”

“It’s universal shock from the patients, and disgust,” said attorney Allison H. Goddard, The New York Times reported. “They don’t know how their videos might be used or who may have seen them because Sharp didn’t make sure that that would be taken care of.”

The hospital said the videos were kept secure, according to the publication.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.