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Woman who stabbed pencils in her eye over failed suicide sues hospital for viral photo

Woman who stabbed pencils in her eye over failed suicide
Were one woman’s rights abused when photos of a failed suicide attempt went viral?

An unidentified woman who stabbed pencils in her eyes in a failed suicide attempt has sued a Los Angeles hospital after photos taken went viral.

In the suit filed on behalf of the woman by David Bliss, her guardian, the suit alleges County-USC Medical Center did not have the woman’s permission to have the photo taken which was subsequently leaked on social media and went viral.

The suit entails unauthorized disclosure of medical information, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, breach of duty and public disclosure of private facts after the woman failed in a 2012 attempt on her own life whilst at another medical facility.

The lawsuit says someone, believed to be a nurse, took an unauthorized photo of her with yellow pencils sticking out of her eyes and shared it with another person, who in turn sent it Joshua Shivers.

Shivers used his mother Linda’s computer to post the image to a ‘shock’ website, the suit stated, adding that the photo has since been viewed more than 192,000 times. The specific website to which it was posted was not disclosed.

On the day the image was uploaded online, Shivers allegedly bragged about his handiwork writing: ‘I finally made it in life. Please check out my shiz,’ City News Service reported via Los Angeles Daily News.  

Told the plaintiff’s attorney, Douglas Johnson, who specializes in privacy cases: ‘Everybody knows that as soon as someone gets their hands on something like this, it goes viral and the harm is done.’

Johnson said that before filing the lawsuit against the medical center and Los Angeles County officials who administer the hospital, he asked them to have the picture taken down from the Web by exercising a copyright they hold over photo, since it was taken in their facility.

County spokesman David Sommers said officials are investigating the allegations in the lawsuit, and he declined to comment further.

The lawsuit also names as defendants Joshua Shivers and his mother, Linda. They could not be reached for comment.

The unidentified woman has since received psychiatric help, learned to read Braille and ‘gotten her life back on track’ by enrolling in college, but she has fallen into depression since the photo spread online, the lawsuit stated.

The woman, who is aware of the photo being made public, worries about how it will affect her later in life, the suit states.

The suit does not specify how much the woman is seeking in damages.

And then there were these comment on the web that made me wonder:

Yes, I think that her depression has most probably been caused by the fact she blinded herself in an excruciating way… rather than the fact a photo of it has ended up online.

Of consideration is to what degree is the woman’s depression a result of her failed suicide attempt and the consequential damages that was incurred and to what degree subsequent emotional distress was caused by the photo making the viral rounds, which is to wonder if the woman has chosen to blame others for what she did to herself despite the horrendous assault of her privacy….

Woman who stabbed pencils in her eye over failed suicide
Mother-son duo: The lawsuit names Joshua Shivers (left), who allegedly used his mother Linda’s (right) computer to upload the patient’s photo, which he had received from a third party, onto a ‘shock’ website
Woman who stabbed pencils in her eye over failed suicide
The patient, Jane Doe, was taken to County-USC Medical Center in 2012 after she tried to end her life

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