LA MESA, Calif. (AP) -- A Southern California hospital issued an apology to the women who claimed they were secretly filmed during gynecological surgeries.
More than 80 women sued Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa last week, alleging they were recorded by motion-activated cameras set up in three operating rooms as part of an effort to catch a possible drug thief, KNSD-TV reported.
As part of the class-action lawsuit first filed three years ago, one woman claimed she was recorded while giving birth by emergency caesarean section.
"No one ever asked me to record one of my most tender, life-changing moments," Melissa Escalera told the station. "I would have never agreed to be recorded in that vulnerable moment."
The hospital near San Diego said in a letter Thursday that the cameras set up in 2012 and 2013 were intended to record only individuals in front of the anesthesia carts.
However, the letter said patients and medical personnel were at times visible to the cameras and recorded without sound.
Through the investigation, hospital officials identified the person they believed was stealing drugs and that person no longer works there.
The hospital said it has stopped using this surveillance method and that the videos are kept in a secured safe and only released in response to the legal processes or specific patient requests.
"We sincerely apologize that our efforts may have caused any distress to the women who were recorded, their families, and others we serve," the letter said.