An employee of a hospital in Pennsylvania has filed multiple complaints after she discovered photos of her genitalia were being shown around the workplace. Sheila Harosky alleged that a nurse took those images while she was being operated on for her hernia.
Harosky, who had been working as a unit secretary in the operating room department of the Washington Hospital, alleges a scrub nurse, Sharon Bourgo, used a mobile phone to take photos of her exposed body while she was on the operating table for incisional hernia surgery in September 2016.
She first filed a writ against multiple defendants in October this year after being fired by the hospital. She also followed it up with a 39-page complaint early in December.
Harosky claimed the nurse showed her the pictures after she returned to work following medical leave. She later learned that her other co-workers had also been shown the images.
"I trusted my medical personnel. That's what hurts so bad," she told KDKA-TV. "She showed me four to six photos of me unconscious in the OR being prepped for surgery.
"There was my private parts. There was everything, everything that you see in the OR."
According to her lawsuit, Harosky claimed that the hospital was keen to hush the whole matter and failed to protect her in the process. They allegedly started treating her as the "wrong-doer" and she says she "was forced to endure harassment, humiliation and backlash".
Bourgo, who was fired after the incident came to light, was reportedly the only person who apologised to her.
The victim took a break from work and was later given additional paid time off for two weeks. On returning to work she was told that the hospital did not find a unit for her to work in. Due to stress and continued harassment, her primary care physician recommended she take a three-month leave of absence. However, the hospital denied her request, forcing her to take unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act.
In October, Harosky was fired from her job, the lawsuit stated.
"To take a photograph of someone's genitalia is just egregious," Ken Hardin, attorney for Harosky said, noting that bringing a cell phone into the sterile operating room placed the woman at an increased risk for infection.
"An investigation by the state Department of Health revealed that the presence of cell phones in the operating room was pervasive at the hospital," the lawyer added.
Harosky's husband too is a plaintiff in the case, and together, the couple has requested a jury trial and damages exceeding $75,000 (£55,888) on several counts.
Hospital authorities reportedly declined to comment on the case.