Any surgical operation can have complications, but this is one no patient expects.
A western Pennsylvania woman is suing the hospital where she used to be employed, charging that a scrub nurse took nude pictures of her while she was a patient in the operating room for hernia surgery, and shared them with other co-workers.
But the hospital claims it all started as a joke.
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and local station KDKA, Sheila Harosky, a 45-year-old former operating room secretary at Washington Hospital outside Pittsburgh, has filed a lawsuit against the hospital, charging malpractice and invasion of privacy over the incident.
According to the Tribune-Review, Harosky underwent hernia surgery on Sept. 21, 2016. The procedure was performed by a medical team she worked with regularly.
When Harosky returned to her job after the surgery, the newspaper reported, a colleague showed her cellphone photos that were taken while Harosky was under anesthesia on the operating table.
And the photos left little to the imagination.
“She showed me four to six photos of me unconscious in the OR being prepped for surgery,” Harosky told KDKA. “There was my private parts. There was everything, everything that you see in the OR.”
After Harosky complained, the nurse who showed her the pictures was fired, according to the Tribune-Review. And that stirred such bad feelings against Harosky from other employees that she requested a transfer to another unit. The newspaper also reported Harosky said she “could no longer function in her position after learning that others had seen the photos.”
“It got to be too much, I was having migraines and insomnia,” she told the newspaper. “I had gone to HR to report the photos and they did nothing to help me transfer out of the OR unit. I got the feeling that they just wanted me to keep my mouth shut.”
According to the Tribune-Review, the hospital said it didn’t have another unit for Harosky to work in.
Eventually, she ended up taking a three-month unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, but was fired when her leave ran out in October, almost a year after the surgery. She filed the lawsuit Dec. 12.
According to the Tribune-Review, the hospital maintains that Harosky started the whole thing herself.
Harosky, the hospital said, invited irregular behavior in the operating room “by bringing fake intestines into the OR and requesting that they be placed on her abdomen at the time of the surgical procedure as a practical joke on her friends, coworkers and the surgeon.”
“Unfortunately, the object was photographed and that image was shared with (Harosky),” the hospital stated, according to the newspaper.
The newspaper reported that Harosky admits she purchased a fake scar at a costume store and “placed it on her stomach before her surgery.” It was meant as a joke for the surgeon, identified as Dr. Dennis Brown.
“Dr. Brown is a known jokester, and I thought I’d play a trick on him,” Harosky told the newspaper. “That’s how much I trusted him.”
Brown’s attorney, however, told the newspaper that Brown “was unaware that Harosky intended ‘to play a practical joke on the operating room staff’ and ‘did not authorize, condone or approve of the taking of this inappropriate photo.’”
State medical authorities didn’t approve of it either, according to KDKA.
The station reported it had “confirmed with the state Health Department that the hospital was cited for violating state policy on cell phone use. Cell phones can obviously introduce germs into a sterile environment.”
Check out the KDKA report here:
Obviously, the whole truth of this story has yet to be told in one place – and maybe that place will be a courtroom in Washington County, Pennsylvania. That’s what courtrooms, with their testimony under oath, are for.
But whatever the full story, it’s clear that not only the operating room environment was spoiled by this incident, but at least one woman’s work environment was too.
A serious medical operation is obviously nothing to fool around with.
Like and share this story on Facebook and Twitter to remind everyone that an operating room is no place for fooling around.
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