Dr. Nikita Levy, a Johns Hopkins Medical Center Gynecologist, committed suicide on Monday, February 18, 2013, after he was confronted with allegations of recording and photographing his patients during exams in his 25 year career. Dr. Levy obtained his medical license in Maryland in 1988 and started working at Johns Hopkins Hospital shortly after. Dr. Levy was contacted by Johns Hopkins on February 4th, 2013, suspended on February 5th and ultimately terminated on February 8, 2013. On February 18, 2013, Dr. Levy’s body was found at his home, in Towson, Maryland, with a plastic bag wrapped around his head and Helium being pumped into it. An apology letter to his wife was also found, near his body.
When Dr. Levy’s home was searched by police, unauthorized photographs and video recordings of patients treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital were found. Multiple computer hard drives filled with images and records, photographic equipment and hidden cameras, such as a pen camera, were found and taken as evidence.
Several lawsuits are now being filed in Maryland on behalf of former patients of Dr. Levy due to these allegations. Hundreds more are expected to be filed in the coming months. Dr. Levy had over 600 former patients whom may have been secretly photographed or recorded.
Baltimore Police have yet to contact the patients identified in the photographs and recordings and have not confirmed whether any of the material was distributed over the internet, therefore; some lawyers of these former patients have submitted a request to the Baltimore Police to release this information.
Johns Hopkins issued a statement, which in part says, “An invasion of patient privacy is intolerable. Words cannot express how deeply sorry we are for every patient whose privacy may have been violated… ” The hospital further says that Dr. Levy’s alleged behavior violates its conduct and privacy rules. The allegations were brought to light by an employee of Johns Hopkins Medical Center, who on February 4th, 2013, noticed something unusual about Dr. Levy’s examination of a patient and so a supervisor was alerted.
Baltimore Police are treating this as a criminal investigation while Johns Hopkins’ board or trustees has opened their own investigation. Hospitals, in the past, have been held liable for failing to protect patients’ privacy and for doctor’s actions, but it depends on whether there is enough evidence to prove negligence. It all depends on whether the women can be identified in the images and what they show. If patients cannot be identified, they cannot really say that they were embarrassed or humiliated.