West Penn Hospital is at the center of a class-action lawsuit alleging it failed to protect the privacy of its patients.
West Penn Hospital recently came under fire in a class-action lawsuit filed by two women over allegations that they were “secretly recorded while undressing in a hospital exam room.” When commenting on the suit, Michael Zagari, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, said, “This suit seeks damages for their humiliation, their exposure and their exploitation at the hands of a West Penn Hospital employee.”
One of the plaintiffs is a 25-year-old woman who went to West Penn for a cancer procedure. Zagari said, “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.”
According to the lawsuit, a hospital worker found a small video camera in one of the bathrooms, prompting police to charge “former hospital employee Guy Caley in July with invasion of privacy.” Earlier this month, another 83 charges were filed against him. Zagari said, “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.”
Rob Peirce, another attorney representing the plaintiffs, said Caley “allegedly videotape 21 employees and at least 34 patients.” Peirce further argues West Penn “did not do enough to protect patient privacy.” He added:
“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.”
Shortly after Caley was hit with criminal charges, West Penn Hospital issued the following statement:
“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.”