PITTSBURGH — Two women filed a class action lawsuit against West Penn Hospital alleging they were secretly recorded while undressing in a hospital exam room.
“This suit seeks damages for their humiliation, their exposure and their exploitation at the hands of a West Penn Hospital employee,” attorney Michael Zagari said.
Zagari represents a 25-year-old woman, who he said went to the hospital for a cancer procedure.
“Her trust in medicine has been shattered at a time when her trust in medicine is vital. It’s extremely important. These are women that are battling cancer. They have a cancer scare -- that’s why they are there. That’s why they’re putting trust in the hospital and I can tell you she feels betrayed,” Zagari said.
After a worker discovered a small video camera in a bathroom, police charged former hospital employee Guy Caley in July with invasion of privacy. Eighty-three more charges were filed against him earlier this month. He’s accused of videotaping co-workers in a bathroom and patients in an exam room.
“Unbeknownst to these women, prior to Mr. Caley stepping out of that examination room, or that imaging room, Mr. Caley had set up cameras inside the imaging room to record them getting undressed,” Zagari said.
Attorney Rob Peirce, who’s working with Zagari and attorney Joe Charleton, said Caley allegedly videotape 21 employees and at least 34 patients. The lawsuit, however, only involves the patients who were recorded.
The lawsuit seeks monetary damages, as well as changes. Peirce contends the hospital didn’t do enough to protect privacy.
“We believe that protocols were not followed or even worse protocols were not in place. And we are determined and we are asking the court to make sure that if West Penn Hospital and other facilities won’t do it, that the courts will get involved on behalf of these victims and make sure procedures are in place so no one has to go through this again,” Peirce said.
Peirce believes this is the tip of the iceberg and there may be more victims out there.
After criminal chargers were filed, West Penn Hospital called the allegations reprehensible, and said safe guarding privacy is the utmost priority:
“As we stated previously, the allegations described in the criminal charges against a former West Penn Hospital employee are appalling, and West Penn condemns his actions in the strongest possible terms. We are dismayed that such a reprehensible act was committed on our campus. At Allegheny Health Network and West Penn, we place the utmost priority on safeguarding the privacy and dignity of our employees, patients, and visitors, and we deeply regret that some have been unknowingly affected by this criminal act. AHN and West Penn would like to thank the Highmark Health police department and the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office, who thoroughly investigated this case over the last several months, leading to the charges being filed. We continue to cooperate fully with authorities as their investigation and prosecution proceed.”
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