TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — A local doctor took his own life while facing allegations he took pictures and videotaped his patients without their knowledge. Police searching his home say they found an extraordinary amount of evidence.
Meghan McCorkell spoke with a patient who’s worried she’s a victim, too.
Baltimore City police say they’ve contacted some of the victims but say the numbers coming forward could be huge.
Police say Dr. Nikita Levy–a former OB/GYN at Johns Hopkins–took his own life inside his Towson home. It’s the same house where Baltimore City police served a search warrant. Inside they say they found extensive evidence that Levy videotaped and took photos of his patients without their knowledge.
“It’s disgusting that you’ve got to trust these people and you can’t trust him,” said Tasha Bynam.
Bynam was a patient of Dr. Levy’s and received a letter saying he’d left the facility but didn’t say why.
“I thought maybe he’d moved on, got promoted or something,” she said.
Hospital security was alerted on Feb. 4 by another staff member that Levy was using personal video equipment to tape his patients. Police are now trying to determine if others were involved.
A spokesperson for Johns Hopkins says Levy was let go from the staff earlier this month.
Police believe there were a large number of victims. Levy saw around 1,000 patients since getting his medical license in 1988.
“That’s a violation,” Bynam said. “You got somebody that you’re supposed to trust with your body, your information, which is supposed to be confidential.”
Johns Hopkins has launched its own investigation.
Baltimore City police are now setting up a hotline. They say all patients of Levy’s should contact them to see if they were victimized.
According to the Maryland Board of Physicians, Levy still had an active medical license and had no known disciplinary actions against him.
This is the full statement from Johns Hopkins:
“After being alerted by an employee, on Feb. 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 Feb. 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.
We regard our patient’s right to privacy and professionalism as fundamental and foundational. We deeply regret any distress experienced by our patients and their families.”