Employee-patient claims co-workers photographed her during surgery

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A Washington (Pa.) Hospital employee who underwent an operation at her workplace filed a complaint in Washington County Court against the hospital, a physician and several hospital staff members, who were allegedly involved in taking and later sharing photos of her genitals during the procedure, according to the Observer-Reporter.

The woman, a unit secretary in the hospital's operating room department, filed a writ against multiple defendants in October and followed up with a 39-page complaint earlier this month.

The woman was a patient in the operating room for an incisional hernia surgery in September 2016. A scrub nurse allegedly used a cell phone to photograph the woman's exposed genitals as she lay unconscious on the operating table.

Dennis Brown, MD, the operating physician, and several others present did not stop the scrub nurse from photographing the patient and did not report her conduct, according to the suit. After returning from medical leave at the end of October, the plaintiff alleges the scrub nurse showed her the photographs. The woman later learned the scrub nurse had shown the photos to other co-workers.

The hospital fired the scrub nurse after the woman reported her conduct. The suit further claims the presence of a cell phone in the operating room placed the woman at an increased risk of infection.

After experiencing harassment and backlash from her co-workers, the suit claims Washington Hospital failed to protect the plaintiff from "an increasingly hostile and abusive work environment."

The employee-patient later took unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, and the hospital terminated her employment in October 2017, the suit said.

The plaintiff is requesting a jury trial and damages exceeding $75,000. A trial date has not been set yet.

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