It was just another day at the office for a Pennsylvanian operating room secretary when she joined in on a practical joke her co-workers were playing on the attending doctor. Sheila Harosky decided her surgery be an opportune time to pull the prank.

Upon returning to work after recovery, a colleague approached Harosky brandishing a cell phone with an image pulled up on it. What she saw appeared to be a naked woman with what is meant to look like intestines pouring out of her body. In horror, Harosky  realized she was looking at herself.

Malpractice defined

The hospital claims the photos were an extension of the joke. While she admitted to playing a joke on her doctor, Harosky states she did not permit for the images to be taken.

According to Pennsylvania malpractice law, malpractice occurs when a doctor or other healthcare professional commits medical negligence. Medical negligence is a breach of professional healthcare standards of care. The patient must show that the injury or harm caused by the medical negligence resulted in considerable damage.

Four legal elements must be proven to show that a physician acted negligently when providing care:

  1. Maintaining certain standards of care
  2. Failure to provide proper care
  3. Injury results from negligence
  4. The injury has damaging consequences

Physical, emotional, or financial hardships are considered to be examples of considerable damage. Besides an invasion of privacy, Haroksy alleges she was subjected to harassment from other employees. What started out as a joke soon became a personal nightmare that took on a life of its own.