Settlement Reached Over Gynecologist Who Videotaped His Patients During Exams
The world-famous Johns Hopkins Hospital recently agreed to a $109,000,000.00
settlement with eight thousand patients
of a doctor named Nikita Levy. Levy had been using a concealed camera to videotape gynecological examinations of his patients for an unknown period of time while working at Johns Hopkins. More than a thousand such videos were discovered on his camera at the time it was seized by hospital authorities.
The Johns Hopkins case is a good example of how, in the medical community, a few bad apples "spoil the bunch." The data consistently shows that a small number of physicians are responsible for a huge proportion of malpractice and misconduct allegations. For example, the Federal National Practitioner databank shows that just six percent of doctors are responsible for almost 60 percent of the malpractice payments
made over a fifteen-year period - ten times their fair share. Moreover, an even smaller subset of doctors, just one percent, is responsible for 20 percent of all malpractice payments of a similarly statistically significant of time - 20 times what you'd expect if lawsuits were targeting doctors broadly. It's also true that 82 percent of doctors have never had a medical malpractice payment.
Unfortunately, our justice system can make it challenging for fact-finders in medical malpractice cases. The doctor's history of malpractice in other cases is almost never admissible as evidence. Juries are often misled into thinking in the course of a medical malpractice trial that what happened was an isolated event, when in fact, it is highly likely that it's something that has happened over and over again. Repeat offenders, in other words, are by far the most likely to find themselves in court, although juries may not be told this. As Public Citizen learned through detailed research
: "All too often, state medical boards are more concerned about protecting the reputations of doctors than doing their job, which is to protect unsuspecting patients from doctors who may be incompetent or negligent," Wolfe said. "West Virginia has an appalling record of letting serious and sometimes repeat offenders off the hook."
Hospitals and independent companies employing doctors keep detailed files on doctors' complication rates and incidents of malpractice. But nonetheless, they jealously guard them refusing to allow patients to have access to this information when choosing their doctor; thus making the medical system more dangerous for all of us. Even worse, repeat-offender doctors are defended by their hospital corporations and medical insurers, even when the hospital knows that the doctor has a consistent track record of dangerous actions, and even when those dangerous actions caused injuries and death.
We can all be glad that doctors like Levy are rare, but they need to be even rarer. Other offenders that our law firm has come into contact with, including Manish Koyawala
, Anandhi Murthy
, and hospitals like Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital
, have at least left a trail out there on the internet illustrative of their repeated misconduct, but we all have to remember things that our medical system has decided we don't "need to know" about physicians and hospitals that we rely on for care.
It's particularly disturbing that more and more of the time our health care system is publicly funded, whether through Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), or the Veterans Administration. Nevertheless, the powers-that-be in the medical community have decided that it is best for them to "see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil" about what really happens in our medical system; even while they know who is in this small minority of dangerous doctors and nurses. The result is a consistently rising tide of preventable injuries and deaths attributable to medical negligence. Some information about this small minority of dangerous doctors that we need to watch out for can be found here