Dr. Nikita Levy got his Maryland medical license in 1988. His entire career, he was a gynecologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine treating over 1,000 patients.
Now, each one could be a victim. On February 8, he was fired following allegations that he photographed and videotaped his patients.
"I have not heard about this, so it's kind of surprising to me especially here at Hopkins," said Amanda Dziedzic, who responded to the news outside of Johns Hopkins.
Dr. Levy was found dead at his home in Towson on Monday, police say from an apparent suicide. Investigators are looking back at his 25-year practice and say some patients have already been identified as victims.
A police spokesman say an extraordinary amount of evidence was found over the past few weeks.
"It just makes you feel like you can't be safe even going to your doctor's office," said Andrea Futrell, who has received treatment at Johns Hopkins.
On February 4th, a Johns Hopkins employee turned over information to the security department. Days later, Levy's patients were notified.
A Johns Hopkins spokesman put out a statement saying "any invasion of patient privacy is intolerable. Words cannot express how deeply sorry we are for every patient whose privacy may have been violated,” said Kim Hoppe, Media Relations and Public Affairs, Johns Hopkins Medicine.
"You never know if they're being true to their job of if they're in it for theirself," said Futrell.
Police are trying to uncover if a larger network of people is behind the illegal photographing and storing of patient images, in their most vulnerable position. They are left without the main guy to interview.
"Give them some counseling. Talk to them. Just make sure that they're not really hurt," said Futrell.
There is a focus on the victims. Johns Hopkins Medicine has set up a call center and patients are being offered counseling. The number to call is: 855-546-3785.
Police are working with the group Turnaround to set up another call center as the investigation gets underway.
Johns Hopkins released this statement Monday afternoon:
After being alerted by an employee, on February 4, 2013, our security department at Johns Hopkins initiated an investigation of Nikita Levy, M.D., a Hopkins obstetrician/gynecologist. Within a day, we determined that Dr. Levy had been illegally and without our knowledge, photographing his patients and possibly others with his personal photographic and video equipment and storing those images electronically. At that time, in order to protect patient welfare, Dr. Levy was prohibited from any further patient contact.
Johns Hopkins promptly reported this activity to the Baltimore City Police Department. In light of this information, which Dr. Levy acknowledged, we ended his employment on February 8 and offered him counseling services. We then sent a communication to Dr. Levy’s current patients to assure continuity of care and to help them reschedule appointments with another provider.
Any invasion of patient privacy is intolerable. Words cannot express how deeply sorry we are for every patient whose privacy may have been violated. Dr. Levy’s behavior violates Johns Hopkins code of conduct and privacy policies and is against everything for which Johns Hopkins Medicine stands.
We continue to work closely with law enforcement officials and will assist them in any way possible. Apart from a few individuals who have been notified, we are not aware at this time of the identities of any other people who may have been photographed by Dr. Levy. We are continuing to investigate.
Tragically, today we learned that Dr. Levy apparently has taken his own life. We send our condolences to his family and friends.
Since this is an ongoing police investigation, we have been asked not to provide any more detail at this time. In addition to notifying the police, we have set up a call center for Dr. Levy’s patients and are also offering them counseling. The number is 855-546-3785.
In order to ascertain the full extent of this matter, the Johns Hopkins Medicine Board of Trustees will be setting up a separate independent investigation which will work in tandem with law enforcement. The Board expects to name someone shortly to head up the independent investigation.
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