Sunday, 24 February 2013

Md. OB/GYN commits suicide after allegations of recording patients

A Johns Hopkins OB/GYN is accused of secretly videotaping his patients. Earlier this week, police found the doctor dead at his home in what's believed to be a suicide.
For about 25 years, he worked as an OB/GYN at a medical center affiliated with Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Now, Johns Hopkins and Baltimore police say Dr. Nikita Levy illegally photographed his patients, and possibly others, without their knowledge. Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says, "One of the cameras that we can confirm is a pen camera. And there are other types that we don't want to get into - again given the sensitive, sensitivity of the investigation. There were multiple cameras. I really can't get into a number."
Nor can police say what else the cameras were hidden in. They say they're examining a "mountain" of evidence; still and video cameras, multiple computers, servers, external hard drives.
They're investigating whether Levy might have had an accomplice. Some of Dr. Levy's patients spoke to CNN affiliate WJZ. Patient Jessica Wims says, "Dr. Levy was the sweetest person. This is all-- this is just shocking." Another patient Tasha Bynum says, "That is a violation. You understand what I'm saying- that you got somebody that you supposed to trust with your body, your information- which is supposed to be confidential."
And now, Dr. Nikita Levy can't answer the accusations. After learning of his alleged transgressions on Feb. 4, Johns Hopkins Hospital says they suspended Dr. Levy the next day. They say they terminated him on Feb. 8 and offered him counseling. Ten days later, just this pst Monday, police in Towson, MD. Responded to a call at Dr. Levy's home. They say he was dead when they arrived. They're investigating it as a suicde.

WBAL-AM reports that the Maryland medical examiner's office ruled that asphyxiation was the cause of death. Police have also confirmed that Levy left a suicide note addressed to his family.
Johns Hopkins says it promptly reported Levy's alleged activity to the police. In a statement, Johns Hopkins says in part: "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 says his alleged behavior violates its conduct and privacy rules. Attorney Andrew Slutkin says he's been contacted by at least 25 patients of Dr. Levy's.
When asked about how the alleged behavior was discovered, Slutkin replied, "The story is that a Johns Hopkins employee noticed something unusual about Dr. Levy's examinations on February 4th and alerted a supervisor. No we don't. No one knows at this point what it was other than Hopkins- and they're not speaking about the issue."
Johns Hopkins says it's conducting its own investigation. Dr. Levy's attorney could not be reached for comment.
CNN's reporter went to Dr. Levy's home and knocked on the door to see if anyone would speak on his behalf. A gentleman who answered the door declined and said "This is all news to us."

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