WASHINGTON, Pa. — After working as an operating room secretary at Washington Hospital for 15 years, Sheila Harosky, 45, of Charleroi, Pennsylvania was betrayed by her co-workers in the worst way possible.
While undergoing hernia surgery, she later discovered that scrub nurse Sharon Bourgo was taking photographs of her private parts with a cell phone. Bourgo then went on to share the photos with others, including Harosky herself, who was shocked by the unwarranted intrusion of her privacy.
“I trusted my medical personnel. That’s what hurts so bad,” Harosky told reporters on Wednesday. She has since filed a lawsuit saying that she was subjected to harassment from other employees, according to KDKA News.
Harosky said she knew Dr. Dennis Brown and the team who operated on her, but she didn’t know that Bourgo was sharing photos of her naked body.
“She showed me four to six photos of me unconscious in the OR being prepped for surgery,” says Harosky. “There was my private parts. There was everything, everything that you see in the OR.”
Harosky reported the incident after a colleague approached her with the photos on her cellphone saying, “I’ve got something for your scrapbook.”
She said that she received backlash as a result of reporting what happened. “They were treating me like I had done something wrong,” she said.
The hospital claims the photos were an extension of a practical joke Harosky participated in by putting fake intestines on her body before the surgery. Harosky admitted to playing a joke on her doctor, but she said she didn’t give permission for the photos to be taken.
The hospital said it fired the nurse who took the photos and the doctor is no longer allowed to perform surgeries.
In her 17-count lawsuit against the hospital, its CEO, Dr. Brown, and the medical team, Harosky alleges invasion of privacy, among other things. She filed the lawsuit on Dec. 12. The incident took place in September 2016.
“To take a photograph of someone’s genitalia is just egregious,” said her attorney, Ken Hardin.
Harosky claimed that she’s not the first person to have their privacy violated in such a way. “I know it’s happened to other people,” said Harosky.
KDKA has confirmed with the state Health Department that the hospital was cited for violating state policy on cell phone use. Cell phones can bring germs into a sterile environment.