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Nurse fired for off-duty post on Facebook
Nurse Cheryl James didn't think she was violating any rules when she posted her frustrations on Facebook, saying she had treated a "cop killer" that day.
The posting followed the shooting death of Taylor Police Corporal Matthew Edwards in July 2010. James was one of the nurses who helped treat the accused shooter, Tyress Mathews, at Oakland Hospital in Detroit after the incident.
James told Fox News that she was emotional after the events of the day, knowing that a police officer was dead and she had worked to save the life of the man accused of shooting him. After work one night, while at home, she vented her frustrations and anger on Facebook, saying she had come face-to-face with a "cop killer" and that she hoped he rotted in hell, along with other obscene comments, she told Fox News. (For the full story from the news site, go to http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/dpp/news/local/oakwood-hospital-employee-fired-for-facebook-posting-20100730-wpms.)
A few days later the hospital fired James, saying she had violated HIPAA by posting protected health information on Facebook and had made disparaging remarks about a patient. After the firing, Oakwood Hospital released this statement:
"As health care providers, we have a legal and ethical responsibility to protect patient privacy, and we are bound by HIPAA rules and regulations to ensure that we do so. All of our employees are trained and expected to protect patient information. This means keeping details confidential that might make it easy to identify a patient, even if his or her name has not been revealed. That's why disciplinary action, even termination, may result from sharing information about patients inappropriately in any public forum or setting. While we cannot discuss specific details regarding any current or former employee, we all have a legal and ethical responsibility to put our personal opinions aside and provide the care required for any patient who has entrusted us with their health."