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A neonatal ICU nurse at a hospital in Florida has finally been fired after nearly a month of being investigated for using social media to mock a baby who’d reportedly been born with a birth defect.
According to Miami station WFOR, sometime early last month, now-fired Jackson Memorial Hospital nurse Sierra Samuels posted photos to her Instagram account of a baby who’d been born with gastroschisis.
The CDC says gastroschisis is a birth defect in which a “baby’s intestines are found outside of the baby’s body, exiting through a hole beside the belly button.” The condition is thankfully fixable, though problems do usually persist.
The Global Gastroschisis Foundation warns that children born with gastroschisis can suffer from “a slow growth rate,” “acid reflux,” “an abdominal hernia,” “sensory processing issues,” “feeding or speech problems,” problems with muscle tone,” etc.
In other words, it’s no laughing matter — except to Samuels.
“My night was going great then boom! … Your intestines posed to be inside not outside baby,” the now-fired nurse reportedly wrote in posts to Instagram that contained photos of the baby.
Screenshots of the written parts of the posts may be seen below:
Her account has since been made private.
Initially, the hospital’s parent organization, the Jackson Health System, placed Samuels on administrative leave and launched an investigation into whether she’d violated her patients’ privacy rights.
“Employees who violate these privacy rules, despite being educated, are subject to disciplinary action including suspension or termination. As soon as we learned of this potential breach, we immediately placed this employee under administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation,” a spokesperson told WFOR at the time.
Meanwhile, Miami litigation attorney David Weinstein predicted she’d eventually be terminated.
“In addition to the general HIPPA violation that we’d be looking at here, there’s a sense of decency about the rights and expectations we all have in our likenesses and our images,” he told the station.
“With images, you have a certain expectation of privacy that if you’re in an area that you believe to be private and in this case a hospital, even more so,” he added.
It took a while, but on Thursday, confirmation finally came through that Samuels is out.
While members of the public were pleased with her termination, they were also quick to note that she’d done more wrong than simply violate privacy rights. She’d displayed a level of inhumanity and cruelty that “does not belong anywhere near healthcare,” they maintained.
“Well, it’s not just a violation of privacy, which is a big thing. It’s the attitude of someone who is supposed to be a nurse. She’s mocking a disabled patient on social media, for likes. That mentality does not belong anywhere near healthcare,” a Daily Mail reader noted.
“Fired? She should be civilley [SIC] sued and have her license pulled. That is a horrible, heartless and hurtful thing for a nurse to do to a family who is already suffering a great deal. A childhood friends son was born with this condition and it took his poor little life. Very sad ordeal,” another reader argued.
Twitter users concurred with the general sentiment.
She should never be practicing nursing anywhere! For her to be a mother herself why would she think this would be ok. God is in control how he makes all of us. Rather it’s flaws or marks. I hope the parents sue her ass for all she got
— Donna Smith (@dflucassmith46) October 1, 2021
How dare you photograph someone’s newborn child…more than once at that, post it to your Instagram account to make fun of him/her. What is wrong with people?! She should lose her license permanently. It’s a GROSS breach of breach of a patient’s privacy.
— 🍁🍂🍁🍂 (@ijustbtweeting) October 2, 2021
She deserves to be thrown in jail with a harsh penalty. Let this be a lesson to any sociopath who gets into healthcare. Bring back decency & integrity.
— DeeIam (@Chiasee714) October 2, 2021
Nothing else is known about Samuels, but it is suspected that she’s been vaccinated. Several of her social media photos show her inside the hospital without a mask, despite a ruling from the Jackson Health System that the unvaccinated must mask up.
“Beginning Aug. 23, all employees, physicians, students, and onsite vendors for Jackson Health, the state’s largest hospital system, will be required to be vaccinated, CEO Carlos Migoya said at a news conference,” station WTVJ reported in early August.
The restrictions included having to wear an N95 mask “at all times in all hospital facilities,” according to WTVJ.
“[T]hey can’t take the mask off to eat or drink inside any facility and can only eat outside, are not allowed to remove the mask in lounges or breakrooms,” the station noted.
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