A former patient of Southern California's Torrance Memorial Medical Center is suing the hospital after an anesthesiologist took advantage of her unconscious state to draw a black mustache and yellow teardrops on her face.
Veronica Valdez, 36, went in for minor surgery in October 2011 confident in the professionalism of the hospital's staff, having worked there as an administrator for the previous 13 years.
But her feelings toward the medical team changed soon after the operation, when she was shown a photo snapped during her procedure showing her lying on the operating table with a fake mustache and teardrops affixed to her face.
The prank was apparently the brainchild of Dr. Patrick Yang, her anesthesiologist.
"I thought she would think this is funny and she would appreciate it," Yang said in a deposition during the ensuing investigation.
The photo itself was snapped by Patricia Gomez, one of the nurse's aides assisting in the surgery.
In her deposition, Gomez says she showed the photo to Valdez and then deleted it.
But Valdez and others claim the photo found its way to Facebook and the continued to spread among the hospital workers.
She says she was ultimately humiliated out of a job.
Despite violating patient privacy rights and other hospital policies such as the one prohibiting in-surgery cellphone use, Dr. Yang was allowed to keep his job following an unspecified "disciplinary action" and a two-week suspension from his practice.
He is currently in good standing at the hospital.
Gomez and several other employees were also briefly suspended, but returned to work following patient privacy training.
Valdez is suing the hospital, Dr. Yang, and his practice for damages, citing violation of privacy and infliction of emotional distress among other allegations.
Her case is set to go to trial this January.
[H/T: Opposing Views]