- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 3, 2019


A hospital in La Mesa, California, said it wanted to catch a drug thief in the act of stealing, and that’s why it put cameras in delivery rooms that secretly filmed dozens of women as they gave birth — as they were in the throes of their most vulnerable and exposed moments of life.

What a tragic violation of privacies. What a crazy, unnecessary, outrageous tragic violation of privacies.

Eighty-one women who were patients at the Women’s Center in Sharp Grossmont Hospital between July 2012 and June 2013, and who were subjected to the privacy dings, have launched a class-action suit. It’s their second time trying; their first suit in 2016 was denied class-action status.

It should be a no-brainer.

The hospital admits the filming.

“Although the cameras were intended to record only individuals in front of the anesthesia carts removing drugs, others, including patients and medical personnel in the operating rooms, were at times visible to the cameras and recorded,” said Sharp HealthCare, the hospital’s nonprofit parent company, in a statement reported by NBC News. “We sincerely regret that our efforts to ensure medication security may have caused any distress to those we serve.”

Regret is good.

Settlement sums are better.

The suit accused the hospital of secretly capturing on camera women’s “most sensitive genital areas” — and also their faces.

One woman said her entire cesarean section birth was secretly recorded.

“I never would have agreed to be recorded in that vulnerable moment,” the woman said in her complaint.

It’s bad enough America at-large is moving toward a surveillance society, with cameras on the street corners, cameras in the stores, cameras in corners of about every public building — not to mention the selfie generation that points cameras inward and posts the pictures for all to see.

But a hospital delivery room? And secretly, to boot?

Hospital authorities could’ve opted for a dozen different directions to catch the drug thief, beginning with moving the stash to an area that didn’t, say, house partially naked women delivering babies and set up cameras there. How simple, yes?

But they didn’t. And for that, the hospital must pay.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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