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.
This is SUCH an interesting case. Even if you are able to look past the part about the hospital allowing a reality show to be filmed with patient’s in that very same room, the fact that Duke is claiming she was fired for “insensitivity” as opposed to the glaring probable privacy violation just reeks of What The Fudge? According to the articles I’ve read at ABC News, Good Morning America, and Gothamist all state that the hospital (New York Presbyterian) declined to comment.
I have to be honest, I don’t watch the show. I also question the real reason that Duke was fired, considering that the date, time, and caption “Man Vs. 6 Train” narrows down the location and probable injury type which all happen to be covered under the 18 patient identifiers of Protected Health Information. I also find it incredibly hypocritical for the hospital to take this sort of action considering their sanctioning of the reality show.
I don’t think there’s anything specifically wrong with the actual photo from what I can see. I think the issues at hand are when it was uploaded (presumably during a shift) and the context that it was placed in with the associated text. I think that if all we saw were the neat trauma rooms with stock in place, there is no real understanding of what actually happens inside the trauma room. *BREAKING NEWS* People die in trauma rooms! Trauma rooms become messy! So do the backs of ambulances! As George Takei would say, “Oh my!”
Maybe if we didn’t spend so much time protecting the “sensitive” people from the harsh realities then people would have realistic expectations of the services provided by doctors, nurses, and of course the medics of the world. As for being “insensitive“… well if that’s true then I wonder what would happen if Yoko Ono saw this photo…
…the trauma room Duke claims John Lennon died in 34 years ago*. Could that be considered insensitive as well? Just what is insensitive about an empty room? Where does the sensitivity end and historical significance begin? So yeah, I have an issue with anyone getting fired for such a subjective reason as being insensitive.
Ultimately what this shows is that even nurses with tens of thousands of Instagram followers can find themselves on the receiving end of discipline should they fail to know and follow the organizations guidelines on Social Media and personal communication device usage. Know your organizations policy and remember that your role on the scene is that of provider, not the media.
*Not actually sure of where this photo was taken, but John Lennon died at Roosevelt Hospital (which is now Mt. Sinai Roosevelt Hospital) and not New York Presbyterian (which the one she worked at was once called Columbia Presbyterian)… which might make sense if she was fired before February 7. Just sayin’.