- Johns Hopkins on Monday agreed to a $190-million settlement to resolve claims made by 8,000 patients of Dr. Nikita Levy, who used a pen-like camera around his neck to photograph and film women in the exam room without their knowledge. The settlement is one of the largest on record in a case of physician sexual misconduct.
- Criminal charges were never brought, but the suit threatened the reputation of one of the world's leading hospitals. Levy was fired in February 2013 after a hospital employee brought her suspicions to the attention of hospital administration; Levy committed suicide shortly thereafter.
- The settlement is subject to final approval by a judge.
The settlement brings to a close a particularly nightmarish chapter in Johns Hopkins' history. The case highlights the importance of friendly whistle-blower policies in hospitals, where patients are often totally vulnerable to their physicians.
"All of these women were brutalized by this," said Jonathan Schochor, the plaintiffs' lead attorney. "Some of these women needed counseling, they were sleepless, they were dysfunctional in the workplace, they were dysfunctional at home, they were dysfunctional with their mates. This breach of trust, this betrayal—this is how they felt." Some, Schochor emphasized, dropped out of the medical system entirely, despite outreach efforts by Johns Hopkins that included a letter sent to Levy's patient list apologizing and encouraging women to seek care with other hospital specialists.
The scope of a misbehaving physician can be enormous: During Levy's 25-year career at Johns Hopkins, he saw approximately 12,600 patients.