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Lawsuit: Scrub Nurse Photographed Coworker Nude in OR

Nurse allegedly showed explicit photos to hospital co-workers — and to patient when she returned from medical leave.

Published: January 10, 2018

HOSTILE Sheila Harosky, a former unit secretary at Washington (Pa.) Hospital, has sued her former workplace, claiming that a scrub nurse took nude photos of her while she was being prepped for hernia surgery.

A scrub nurse took cellphone photos of a co-worker's genitalia while she was being prepped for hernia surgery — and then showed her the explicit images after she returned to work following medical leave, according to a lawsuit filed last month.

"She showed me 4 to 6 photos of me unconscious in the OR being prepped for surgery," Sharon Harosky, a former unit secretary in Washington (Pa.) Hospital's operating room department, told CBS Pittsburgh. "There was my private parts. There was everything, everything that you see in the OR."

Ms. Harosky, 45, filed the suit against the hospital, her surgeon, Dennis Brown, MD, Sharon Bourgo, RN, the nurse who Ms. Harosky said showed her the cellphone photos, and several other nurses, accusing them of invasion of privacy and creating or allowing a hostile work environment to exist.

Ms. Harosky claims Dr. Brown and other staff members in the OR looked on and did nothing to stop Ms. Bourgo from using a mobile phone to take photos of her exposed body in September 2016. Ms. Harosky claims her hospital co-workers had also been shown the images. She says she had to take a leave of absence from work after facing harassment from colleagues.

Ms. Bourgo was fired from the hospital after Ms. Harosky complained. Ms. Harosky says she was forced to, "endure shame and humiliation," because she knew her coworkers had seen the photos.

"(Ms. Harosky) was no being treated like the wrongdoer — not the victim — and was forced to endure harassment, humiliation and backlash amongst co-workers," the suit said. In one particularly difficult moment, she received a note, calling her a slur and asking, "What were you doing?" the suit said.

The hospital gave Ms. Harosky 2 weeks of paid time off for her mental wellbeing but did not try to find her another unit to work on, the suit said. When Ms. Harosky requested a second paid leave, citing a doctor-prescribed leave of absence, the hospital denied. Ms. Harosky instead took unpaid leave until the hospital fired her in October 2017.

Ms. Harosky claims in the lawsuit that the hospital and employees created or allowed a hostile work environment to exist by not stopping Ms. Bourgo from taking the pictures or by keeping those photos from being disseminated. Additionally, when harassment did start, the hospital did nothing to put a stop to it, the suit said. She is also arguing that she faced retaliation from the hospital, which refused to give her more paid time off and forced her to take unpaid leave.

Neither Washington Hospital nor Ms. Bourgo responded to requests for comment. Dr. Brown could not be reached for comment.

Anna Merriman

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