February 27, 2013
In our continuing quest to keep our patients and the Hopkins community informed about the latest developments in the investigation into Dr. Nikita Levy, we wanted to share a letter sent yesterday by Dean Paul Rothman, M.D. and President Ron Peterson in response to an inquiry from the Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center (MCVRC).
February 26, 2013
Thank you for your letter of February 22, 2013. We appreciate the opportunity to respond to your request for information and to pledge our assurances to the patients of Dr. Nikita A. Levy.
First and foremost, words cannot describe how deeply sorry we are for all who this has affected. We are terribly sorry this has happened and for how the patients of Dr. Levy must be feeling. The last few days have been difficult and trying ones for all of us. As we discussed in previous statements and reported to the patients and in the media, these events came to light on February 4, 2013 when a Johns Hopkins employee brought to our attention concerns she had regarding Dr. Levy. The Johns Hopkins employee advised that she had noticed that Dr. Levy had worn a device, which looked like a writing pen, around his neck while examining patients and she believed it was a camera.
On February 5, 2013, Johns Hopkins security was contacted and went to Dr. Levy’s office to question him about the device. While interviewing Dr. Levy, similar appearing devices were seen in his office and on his person. The interview was suspended after asking Dr. Levy to voluntarily surrender the devices, which he did. Dr. Levy was advised that he was prohibited from any further patient contact and was encouraged to seek counseling services. Johns Hopkins Security then escorted Dr. Levy off the grounds of Johns Hopkins, and his upcoming appointments were cancelled.
On February 6, 2013 Johns Hopkins contacted the Baltimore City Police Department, and on February 7, 2013 evidence obtained by Johns Hopkins was provided to the Baltimore City Police Department. The Baltimore City Police Department asked Johns Hopkins not to disclose details of the early police investigation so that their investigation would not be compromised and Johns Hopkins complied with their request. Concerned about patient health care, the authorities did permit us to send a letter to patients advising that Dr. Levy was no longer affiliated with Johns Hopkins and to arrange for transfer of their health needs to other physicians. In addition, on February 8, 2013 Johns Hopkins terminated Dr. Levy’s employment.
After receiving the information and evidence from Johns Hopkins, the Baltimore City Police Department reportedly executed several search warrants and obtained additional evidence. After Dr. Levy took his life and law enforcement permitted, we issued a public statement and sent a second letter to the patients providing the information that we had available to us.
Johns Hopkins cooperated fully with the Baltimore City Police during their initial investigation and intends to continue to cooperate until the investigation is completed. Due to the sensitive nature of the criminal investigation and not having knowledge of the specific content of the images contained on the devices and other evidence obtained by the Baltimore City Police Department, Johns Hopkins was and is unable to provide definitive information to the patients of Dr. Levy of what was contained on the devices.
Currently, images and videos taken by Dr. Levy are securely in the possession of the Baltimore City Police Department. Except for a few individuals who have been notified, we also do not know whether any of Dr. Levy’s patients are identifiable in any video or image contained in that evidence. If the Baltimore City Police Department determines that images or videos are identifiable, we pledge that we will continue to cooperate fully with the Baltimore City Police Department and Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s office to assist them in identifying those individuals. If we are permitted to do so by the Baltimore City Police Department and Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, we also pledge that we will assist them in confidentially notifying any patients that are identifiable and in providing those patients with the assistance they may require.
We do not know what Dr. Levy did with the images or videos. It is believed that the Baltimore City Police Department and their federal partners in the investigation are still actively investigating that aspect of the criminal case. As Johns Hopkins learns of the results of the police investigation regarding whether any of the material was distributed, Johns Hopkins pledges to share that information with the patients of Dr. Levy.
Today we stand humbled by the events and tragic circumstances that involve the patients and community that we serve. We want to assure our patients that their privacy, safety and wellbeing are our priority. We acted quickly and we reported information to them with as much detail as we had and our partners in law enforcement would allow.
Protecting patients’ dignity and privacy is part of the core values that we instill in our patient safety procedures. We start with the expectation that our health care providers will obey all laws and professional standards. In addition, we have numerous other procedures in place hospital-wide to ensure that our patients’ dignity and privacy are protected. In fact, it was one of those procedures that allowed an alert employee to come forward and voice concerns so that we could take decisive action to end Dr. Levy’s illegal conduct and report him to authorities.
In the days ahead, we would like to maintain an open line of communication with Dr. Levy’s patients and/or their representatives so that information can be exchanged in a meaningful and cooperative atmosphere. If there is a representative group that would like to meet with us to discuss how best to do so, we would welcome your ideas and comments.
Thank you again for your inquiry and opportunity to respond. Please do not hesitate to contact us again if you deem it helpful. In addition, please continue to share with your clients the information that we have provided to them in our most recent letter and which is available on our website.
Paul B. Rothman, M.D.
Dean of the Medical Faculty
CEO, Johns Hopkins Medicine
Ronald R. Peterson
The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System
EVP, Johns Hopkins Medicine
February 24, 2013
We understand there is still a lot of shock and confusion surrounding the dismissal, criminal investigation and subsequent death of obstetrician/gynecologist, Nikita Levy, M.D. It is a situation that is deeply disturbing for our patients and for the entire Hopkins community.
We want to assure our patients that their privacy, safety and wellbeing is always our priority. We acted quickly, and we reported this information with as much detail as our partners in law enforcement would allow.
We were alerted of a concern on February 4, 2013, and our security department immediately initiated an investigation. On February 5, in order to protect patient welfare, Dr. Levy was quietly escorted off the property, and all access to patients was suspended at that time. Dr. Levy’s employment was terminated on the afternoon of Friday, February 8.
This was and still is an on-going criminal investigation. At that time, evidence was still being collected, and through our conversations with the Baltimore City Police Department, we were asked not to disclose the specific allegations against Dr. Levy in our patient and employee communications.
We did not want to jeopardize the investigation that we had initiated. However, our patients are our first priority, and we wanted to assure Dr. Levy’s current patients continued to get the care they needed. With that in mind, as soon as we terminated his employment on Friday afternoon, February 8, we immediately alerted his current patients that he was no longer practicing with us, and we provided information to help them find a new physician. We sent that first letter on Monday, February 11.
On Monday, February 18, we learned of Dr. Levy’s death, and we were cleared by Baltimore City Police to release the details surrounding our investigation and Dr. Levy’s dismissal. At that time, we sent a second more detailed letter to his current patients. Samples of both letters are below.
Apart from a few individuals who have already been notified, we are not aware of the identities of any other people who may have been photographed by Dr. Levy. Baltimore City Police and their federal partners in the investigation will continue to sift through the evidence, and anyone who is identifiable in the photos will be contacted directly by the police.
We want to thank our patients, their families and our employees for their patience and understanding as we all wait for new developments in this investigation.
February 18, 2013
Our records indicate that you were a patient of Dr. Nikita Levy and should have already received our previous letter. We are writing to you again to share some additional and deeply disturbing news that we are now permitted to release.
After being alerted by an employee, our security department at Johns Hopkins initiated an investigation of Dr. Levy. 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. Tragically, on February 18, we learned that Dr. Levy apparently had taken his own life.
Words cannot describe how deeply sorry we are for all who this has affected. We are terribly sorry this has happened and for the distress you must be feeling.
Our commitment is to assure you ongoing care of the highest quality. We will work with you to provide continuity of your care with another member of our Obstetrics and Gynecological staff. Please call us at 855-546-3785 to discuss the procedures we have in place to attend to your ongoing medical care needs, reschedule any existing appointment, and address any questions you may have.
Dr. Levy’s behavior violated Johns Hopkins code of conduct and privacy policies and was 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. In addition, in order to better understand what happened in this situation, the Board of Trustees of Johns Hopkins Hospital is engaging an independent investigator who will advise us and continue to work with the governmental authorities involved.
Once again, we are deeply sorry.
Yue-Cheng Yang, M.D.
Chief, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Steven J. Kravet, M.D., M.B.A.
Johns Hopkins Community Physicians
February 8, 2013
We want to let you know that a practicing gynecologist and obstetrician, Nikita Levy, is no longer working for Johns Hopkins and seeing patients. Our files indicate that you may be a current patient of Dr. Levy’s. To ensure the continuity of your care, please contact us so that we may, as quickly as possible, review any urgent care needs, reschedule any existing appointments, and help you find a new clinician. The number to contact for appointments and questions is 855-546-3785.
Kindly accept our sincere regrets for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Yue-Cheng Yang, M.D.
Chief, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Steven J. Kravet, M.D., M.B.A.
Johns Hopkins Community Physicians
February 18, 2013
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 Hospital 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 patients' right to privacy and professionalism as fundamental and foundational. We deeply regret any distress experienced by our patients and their families.