Nurse loses job over Instagram photo: ‘Man vs. 6 Train’ debate

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Nursing job
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A nurse has lost her job after she posted a photo on her Instagram account and tagged it as “Man vs. 6 Train.” Katie Duke was fired from the ER at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and she was part of the reality show on ABC that followed the medical staff at the hospital. Her Instagram photo has started debates about privacy, social media and health.

Instagram photo of ER room leads to firing

Katie Duke posted a picture of the ER room after hospital staff had finished helping a man who had been hit by a train. The patient and staff were not included in the photo, but the room was messy. Duke worked at New York Presbyterian Hospital for seven years and was shocked that she would be fired over a picture.

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Although she was told she did not violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the hospital felt she was being “insensitive” and let her go. Duke feels that sharing a photo of a trauma room without any people in it should not have resulted in her losing her position as a nurse. She points out a doctor from the same hospital originally took the photo, and she simply shared it.

Social media and health privacy debates

Duke’s firing has led to multiple debates about social media and health privacy online. Medical staff is often warned not to share personal photos of patients or other workers because it can violate the rules. However, the guidelines become murkier for a photo that does not include any people in it yet mentions a serious accident treated in an emergency room. The nurse involved in this recent controversy explains she was simply showing the world the reality of ER at a major hospital. However, her case and other issues stemming from social media use have forced some hospitals to create strict rules.

Image: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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