An unidentified woman has filed legal suit in Los Angeles, Calif. against the Torrance Memorial Medical Center and an anesthesiologist and nurse regarding indecent and disturbing photos taken of her while she was in surgery, Fox News reports Sept. 15.
The incident occurred in October 2011, but an internal investigation by the hospital has been ongoing, with this statement released by Torrance Memorial after the conclusion of the investigation this year into Dr. Patrick Yang's actions.
After our internal investigation into the 2011 incident, we conducted additional training among the hospital's staff about demonstrating professionalism at all times. We have taken additional steps including privacy training to ensure patients rights are respected and protected for every patient in our hospital, even if that patient is a friend and colleague."
The woman, however, does not feel that providing training after the fact is sufficient for the acts the nurse and Yang allegedly took while she lay in a surgical room unaware that they were posing her head in a sexually suggestive pose for a crude joke photograph.
Additionally, she claims that she only learned of the photos taken of her during surgery after a fellow hospital worker informed her of them, since she is employed through the facility as well.
In the other photos, the victim is seen with a fake mustache placed above her upper lip and stickers of tears trailing down her face.
The hospital maintains that the victim in the case was friends with the alleged perpetrators and that rather than this being an issue for them and the courts, it is more about the boundaries crossed by friends in unprofessional ways.
In Chicago a doctor was sued after photographing a Northwestern University student when she came into the hospital due to extreme intoxication, also providing details about her condition on social media sites with the photos. In the Aug. 20 report by ABC News, the woman suing in that case, Elena Chernyakova is said to be asking for $1.5 million in compensation for the violation to her privacy, which she did not agree to, and which she believes will jeopardize her future Fortune 500 job opportunities now.
Based on court documents, Elena was visited by the doctor in question a mere 15 minutes after she regained consciousness, and he asked to view her medical records. He returned hours after that and took photos, which she says she never consented to--and was in no position to consent anyway at that time.
Dr. Vinaya Puppala is the Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Memorial Hospital doctor in this case, and the hospital says it is investigation the allegations themselves, but is also willing to cooperate with authorities in their investigation, yet stressed that Puppala acted on his own, without hospital consent.
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For more on the former patient suing Northwestern Memorial, or to show your support for her lawsuit, visit the Elena Chernyako Facebook page.