Class-action registration begins for patients of Hopkins gynecologist

Attorneys launched a campaign Monday to notify former patients of a Johns Hopkins gynecologist accused of secretly photographing exams that they are eligible to register as part of a class-action suit.

As many as 12,600 patients seen by Dr. Nikita Levy between 1988 and 2013 could register as part of the class action, said Jonathan Schochor, chairman of the plaintiffs' committee.

If the attorneys are able to reach a monetary settlement with Johns Hopkins Hospital and affiliates, patients who have registered as part of the class-action group will be able to collect a portion of the money, Schochor said.

Kim Hoppe, a spokeswoman for Johns Hopkins Medicine, said that Hopkins had "agreed to participate in early settlement discussions."

"If successful — as we hope they will be — this would result in a fair and equitable resolution of the allegations," Hoppe said in an email.

"That a physician would do such a thing is unimaginable," Hoppe said. "Dr. Levy breached the trust of his patients and of Johns Hopkins."

The allegations against Levy surfaced last February after a female colleague alerted Hopkins officials when she noticed that the physician appeared to be wearing a pen camera around his neck.

When investigators questioned Levy about the pen, he handed over several other recording devices that had been used to photograph or videotape patients who had been seen in his obstetrics and gynecology practice.

Investigators found Levy had stored images of women in clinical settings on 10 file servers.

Levy died in an apparent suicide days after investigators began to look into the case.

Schochor has said that former patients have told attorneys that Levy made crude remarks in the exam room, conducted unnecessary physical exams and touched patients inappropriately.

"Any and all former patients may have been photographed or videotaped or subjected to boundary violations," Schochor said.

The attorneys are attempting to contact former patients by mail and have launched an advertising campaign though print and radio broadcasts.

A deadline to register has not been set.

A judge would need to approve the settlement before it could be finalized, he said.

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