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Nurse Fired After Instagram Post

Posted by @LeeAase, Jul 9, 2014

This is apparently from the “New York Med” ABC medical drama…a nurse tweeted a picture of the empty ER trauma room after a train collision victim had been treated. She used the caption “Man vs. 6 Train…The After” – I thought this (obviously only her side of the story) was interesting … and also that it was in the context of a reality TV show.


Duke claims she was told by her supervisor that she had not breached hospital policy or violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a law known as HIPAA that protects patient privacy.

“I was told I was being fired for being insensitive,” she said.

Duke also claims that the photo was not even hers, but rather reposted from a doctor’s Instagram page. The doctor – who also works for the hospital – was not reprimanded, she said.


What do you think?

Liked by zmz


Jenny Laidlaw

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 30, 2014
Posted by @jllaidlaw, Jul 9, 2014

Thank you for posting about this! I’ve been following this story since the episode of “New York Med” first aired. I’ve since been following Katie Duke on twitter, and there is a lot of public interest in this. Many people have expressed support for Duke on social media, and she now has a YouTube channel.
I now better understand the reasons for her termination, after the hospital clarified that it was because the photo was considered “insensitive” and not directly in breach of HIPPA. I think that this story outlines the complexity of how to define (or even teach) clinical judgment with regard to the use of social media. How do we define what is, and is not, okay to post on social media when it comes to our professional lives? I tend not to post anything on social media about my clinical work (as a psychiatry resident), although this is likely overkill, and others might view it as unnecessarily restrictive. I fear posting something like this, only to realize moments later that I shouldn’t have done so.
I’m curious to hear what others think!?

Janet Kennedy

Posts: 273
Joined: Feb 12, 2014
Posted by @jkennedy93, Jul 9, 2014

It seems a shame that termination was the result of the “insensitive” posting and not awareness training since there was no legal or HIPAA violation to contend with. More to the point – here is a person on a medical reality TV show posting an Instagram photo that did not include a person. While the tag line was a bit insensitive the real issue was the apparent lack of proactive training by the hospital on what should or should not be released in social media. It’s not fair to put someone in the public eye like that (which obviously benefited the hospital) without giving them the training to understand the boundaries. I think this nurse’s career is way more valuable than a small social media mis-step..

Liked by meredithgould

Shel Holtz

Posts: 36
Joined: Feb 08, 2011
Posted by @shelholtz, Jul 10, 2014

I had a hospital client that fired a nurse for sharing a photo on Facebook
of a trauma room after a gunshot victim was treated. The hospital feared it
would violate HIPAA because a time stamp that would make it possible to
figure out what patient was being treated at the time. However, the HIPAA
violation wasn\’t the cause applied to the firing. The hospital has a policy
of no photography in the trauma room (among others), and he was fired for
violating that policy.

Posted by @LeeAase, Jul 10, 2014

It does seem a little odd in the Duke case, though, that it was in the context of a reality TV show in which there were ABC cameras in the trauma rooms (and elsewhere in the hospital). And as to Jenny’s question, i think the severity of the punishment actually forecloses the opportunity to provide guidance and training. At least in Duke’s telling, there was no allegation of a legal or policy violation. It used to be that people like her might be required to take “sensitivity training” as the consequence of a misstep. It seems firing her made this a lot bigger issue for the hospital (a national news story about it) when a more discreet conversation (even if it contained a reprimand) might have been more constructive.

Liked by Janet Kennedy

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