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Facebook fine: Paramedic and lieutenant in Memphis suspended over posting of young patient's picture.

 

The Memphis Fire Department calls it a violation of department policy. A lieutenant snapped a picture he says was for training after an unusual rescue of a five-year-old boy who had a nail attached to a board embedded in his head. The lieutenant says the photo was snapped for training purposes. A paramedic posted the picture to Facebook. Now they both have received four-hour suspensions.

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By the way, the irony of this story is not lost on me, so I figure I should mention it before any of you do. By doing this story the TV station makes sure many, many more people see this picture than saw it on the paramedic's Facebook page. In addition, the identity of the child, not made apparent by the picture that was posted, is now clearly known to all (with the permission of his parents).  Doesn't excuse anything, but is interesting.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Fyrecapt

    Its one thing to take a picture, but to post onto Facebook?? Your a moron!
    Has nobody learned a thing from all the past incidents of Dumb ass Firefighters posting PICS on Social Media Sites?? Do they not READ the news??
    If we are not careful, most of our depts  will start banning camera/cell phones etc on calls. I know my agency has put a policy into place like that…

  • http://thehappymedic.com Justin Schorr

    Training is exempt from HIPAA, facebook is not.  Had the image been used only for training, no problem.  News media is exempt from HIPAA.  Perfect example of how screwed up privacy policies have become.  "with the parents permission" should make this all go away.

  • http://emtmedicalstudent.wordpress.com/ Joe Paczkowski

    Hello Streisand effect. How are you doing today?

  • NSB008

    Exactly..obviously these people have been on another planet over past few years..like they say..you can't fix stupid.

  • JV

    The problem was the Facebook posting, not the picture. The Lt should have forwarded the picture to the Training or EMS Division with the report, and they should have gotten a release from the family.
    But it still doesn't make sense that you can take a picture of someone who is not identifiable, and get accused of HIPAA violations, while a news organization broadcasts it all over the world with name attached.

    • dave statter

      It makes sense because the news media isn’t the one treating the patient and is not covered un HIPAA.

      Statter

  • PPFD

    Taking a photo is exempt from HIPPA as long as it is used for training? This I didn't know.
    Facebook really turns people stupid. I really still can't grasp the purpose of face book. I guess I just can't bring myself to post up to the second reports of my rather boring life. 
    And a 4 hour suspension? So these guys basically get to sleep in for the next shift.

  • Fyrecapt

    Well said Dave.
    We can make every excuse to try and take pictures and post them on the internet. Why though?? For training is one thing, but thats it. The pics we take of our patients should never be placed on the internet.
     Really, your going to ask a parent if they will say ok to posting their kids picture on the Net?? My response would be " Are you a complete idiot"?

  • Legeros

    Somebody’s going invent and market an EMS parlor game. Know Your HIPPA. Players take turns exchanging incorrect or quasi-accurate interpetations of the medical records privacy law. Game tokens to include a metal bust of Dave Statter. I’ll take the miniature modular ambulance, thank you.

  • fire

    They should be fired, completely uncalled for. Nor do i believe it was ever meant for training purposes only

  • Anonymous

    The training excuse has always been overabused. I am not saying that is the case here but too many people use that excuse when really they are only to get pix for their "look at the cool thing we ran today" file. I always get annoyed when I see guys walking into structures with no tools and they pull out their cameras and then leave.

  • Daz

    We just had 2 paramedics sacked for discussing cases in their Facebook status updates….just don't do it, what kind of idiot would !

    • fire

      Some idiot that wants attention from their friends for doing their job!

  • Lungs

    The issue is NOT apparently about HIPPA. It says its against dept policy. Not against hippa. Posting it on FB doesn’t help your case. As far as the suspension goes. Who cares? It wasn’t even for a whole day!

  • Lungs

    It wasn’t a violation of hippa if the subject wasn’t identifiable and/or it was for training. EMS needs to go to their local hospitals and have their hippa experts educate them.