A nurse at New York Presbyterian Hospital, who is also a popular presence on the medical reality show "NY Med," has been fired by the hospital for posting a photo of a hospital trauma room through the social sharing site Instagram.
Katie Duke, 33, said she was not fired for a violation of hospital policy, nor for encroaching on patient privacy -- she was dismissed for being "insensitive." The hospital declined to comment on the situation.
The photo in question was taken by a doctor at the hospital, according to the nurse. Duke reposted it. The picture depicted a trauma room in disarray with soiled medical supplies in the aftermath of treatment for a man who had been brought into the room after being hit by a New York City subway train.
The photo was posted by Duke with the caption "Man vs. 6 train." Perhaps that was the insensitive part. Duke is no stranger to social media. She has about 25,000 followers on Twitter and 16,000 on Instagram.
Duke had been with New York Presbyterian for seven years, but was let go by the hospital a few hours after the photo was posted.
Duke admitted that some people might have been taken aback by the flippancy of the caption, but she said that it was just a reflection of way that medical personnel deal with the stress of their jobs.
"If you hung around nurse's stations and heard the way we talk about injuries, life and death, you might get the wrong impression, but it's just a coping mechanism," said Duke in an interview with ABC.
Duke, who hails from St. Louis, Mo., has already found another job, and has launched a website (officialkatieduke.com), started a new YouTube show, gained endorsements for Dickies and Cherokee scrubs, does speaking engagements and sells a line of merchandise named "Deal With It," which was her oft-heard catchphrase on the show. She is also scheduled to return to "NY Med" in future episodes. Duke, though, says her passion is nursing as well as promoting a positive public opinion of the profession.
"Nurses put in 12- to 16-hour days and make life-and-death decisions. We don't work at hospitals just because we want to marry doctors," she said.
Duke holds no grudge against "NY Med"; rather, she said it was an entirely realistic look at the reality of hospital work and the life of nurses on the job.