Police say ‘computer glitch’ to blame in Pickering’s BabyView 3D ultrasound photo scandal
BabyView -- a Pickering prenatal imaging centre accused of giving pregnant mothers stock images of their unborn babies -- has been investigated by police and will not face any criminal charges.
Back in May, dozens of mothers came forward on social media and accused BabyView of selling identical stock photos to different expectant mothers.
One Pickering mom, Jennifer Cusimano, said she went to BabyView and paid $130 for two photos and a recording of her child’s heartbeat.
She said after the ultrasound was done, she was told to stay in the waiting room while the technician printed out the photos.
“I cleaned them up a bit,’ the technicial said before handing photos to her, Cusimano recalled.
Later, via a Facebook group, Cusimano and several other mothers posted their 3D photos of their babies to discover that many of the ultrasound images looked the same.
She said she received dozens of messages from other mothers who said they too received the exact same photo after visiting the clinic.
When reached by CTV Toronto, BabyView maintained that a computer glitch was to blame.
“I’m just like you, I’m confused I don’t know what happened,” a man who identified himself as Adeel Adeel Mir told CTV Toronto.
“There is a technical glitch between the machine that takes the images and those images are transferred to the computer and then printed out,” he said.
“Before 22 weeks, all babies have similar features, very hard to tell the difference,” he continued. “There are separate folders, made for specific clients. Those files were merged, we took the printout and could not see it was a different picture because the babies look the same at that point.”
Adeel Mir offered any client with these concerns a full refund on their photos.
On Monday at around 9:30 a.m., Cusimano said she received a phone call from a Durham Regional Police officer who informed her that the police investigation into accusations that BabyView had falsified ultrasound images has been closed and that no charges were to be laid.
The officer told her that the reason for the similar images was indeed a result of a computer glitch in BabyView’s ultrasound imaging technology.
“She said that they had investigators go to BabyView and look at their systems and determined that it was a computer glitch and have since updated their systems,” Cusimano said Monday.
“I was completely shocked and very upset to hear this as I, along with all the other women, don’t believe that for one second.”
Cusimano was one of 21 mothers who said they filed a police report with Durham Police since the discovery was made.
In a news release issued Monday afternoon, Durham Police confirmed no charges would be laid against the company. The release said detectives of its West Division investigated “21 separate reports and have concluded that there is no criminality involved in any of the reports.”
“A computer error led to the wrong photos being issued with the purchased packages and investigators found no sign of criminal intent.”
Cusimano said her and several other mothers affected are devastated by the investigations closure and are in talks to form a class action lawsuit against the prenatal imaging centre.
“The whole situation makes me feel sick and I really just have no words to describe what I’m feeling at this moment,” Cusimano said.
“They were the same pictures that were mirror, flipped or adjusted to be lighter or darker. They made us leave the room while she printed for five minutes and she gave the wrong gender to over five women, for sure,” she alleged.
Currently, 3D baby imaging and ultrasounds are not regulated but since the accusations in Pickering have come forward, the province has started to push for regulations surrounding the ultrasounds.