A woman is suing Torrance Memorial Medical Center in Southern California for violation of privacy and infliction of emotional distress after her anesthesiologist placed a mustache sticker on her face while she was unconscious during surgery.
Veronica Valdez, 36, claims she was violated in 2011 when Dr. Patrick Yang put the mustache and tear drop stickers on her face and allowed a nurse's aide to snap a photo of her. Valdez had worked for the hospital for 13 years before going under the knife for a minor procedure, and the practical joke by her surgery team backfired after she said was outraged when they showed her the photo of herself.
"I felt violated. I was in shock," she said in court documents.
"I thought she would think this is funny and she would appreciate it," Yang said in his deposition, according to the LA Times.
The nurse's aide who took the photo claimed she deleted it after showing Valdez, but Valdez insists the photo surfaced on Facebook and spread to other employees at the hospital. The staff involved in the incident were briefly suspended but not terminated. Valdez said she felt forced to leave her job at the hospital after the incident because she was ridiculed and humiliated.
This isn't the only complaint of its kind against the hospital — after Valdez's suit, a hospital manager came forward to say a medical-device salesman was caught taking cell phone photos of a naked patient without the patient's knowledge, though the hospital has disputed that incident.