Archive for Sunday, January 2, 2011

Kansas student booted from nursing school over pic

January 2, 2011


— Four students who posed for photos with a human placenta have been kicked out of suburban Kansas City nursing program after at least one of the placenta pictures was posted on Facebook.

The dean at Johnson County Community College calls it "a lesson hard learned." But a federal lawsuit has been filed challenging the decision.

The Kansas City Star reported that the photos were taken in November while the students were attending a lab course off-site at Olathe Medical Center.

Afterward, at least one of the students, Doyle Byrnes, posted a photo on the social networking site. There was nothing in the photos to identify the placenta as coming from a particular woman.

The 22-year-old Byrnes says her future is at risk because of "a momentary lapse in judgment."


Christine Anderson 7 years, 1 month ago

Oh boy. Okay, so the image of the placenta did not contain any identifying information. But, why do such a tasteless and stupid thing? What were these students thinking? As a former nurse, I would not have posed for a picture with a placenta any sooner than posing with a urine, stool, or blood sample! Gross-yes. Precisely the point. Maybe, just maybe, this gal will get another chance at a different nursing program. If not, well, there are other careers that pay well, and won't fry you out mentally and physically as quickly as the nursing profession.

Resident10 7 years, 1 month ago

Would a med student have been kicked out of school for this?

Jennifer Dropkin 7 years, 1 month ago

The students' judgment was poor, but the school's reaction was out of proportion. A public reprimand would have been sufficient. Part of being a health care professionable is being able to balance respect for human beings and human bodies with a detachment that will let one do the job without being emotionally pulled at each turn. That detachment needs to be taught and learned else it turn into callousness. This was a learning opportunity that the JOCO dean blew--the students should be reprimanded and reinstated.

Jennifer Dropkin 7 years, 1 month ago

Ok, why did you want us to see a picture of the placenta?

TopJayhawk 7 years, 1 month ago

I'm glad I am not held to all the silly stuff I did during my medical training. This is way too harsh.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

What's wrong with a public viewing of a placenta?

somebodynew 7 years, 1 month ago

Here is my take - I don't have a problem with pictures of body parts, but was it HER placenta.?? I think not. Therefore, in a professional setting (as I take it this was) no pictures should have been taken. Somehow I don't think these pictures were part of a learning experience. That placenta was someone's at one time and did they give permission for the photo and subsequent posting??? I doublt it.

I go to what one of the other posters said, not sure if I want someone with the level of maturity taking care of me and (perhaps) posting pictures of my "parts" on a social networking site.

KEITHMILES05 7 years, 1 month ago

All medical students and workers know the medical ethics. These students knew damn well and they are being held responsible for their actions.

Chelsea Kapfer 7 years, 1 month ago

I am a nurse, and that comment is a little offensive.

nepenthe 7 years, 1 month ago

"I unfortunately have always been a psycho-magnet."

I think the underlying problem lies with you, then. Perhaps you should look inward and ask why you attract 'psychos' rather than generalize nurses and teachers as psychos.

amesn 7 years, 1 month ago

Tom I wouldn't call us psycho...but most of do have a perverse sense of humor agreed. Regardless..stupid move on their part.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 1 month ago

If someone has the lack of common sense to post pictures like that on their FB page they probably shouldn't be involved in patient care.

ksarmychick 7 years, 1 month ago

When I took a human dissection class at KU it was specifically stated in the syllibus that you were not allowed to photograph any part of the human remains for any purpose, even educational, and that you were to treat the bodies with respect.

Matt Schwartz 7 years, 1 month ago

I once found a placenta in the freezer of an apartment that had been vacated....I was going to use it as my secret santa gift....but the owner of the placenta came back to pick it up.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 1 month ago

Six posts in a row and not a single mention of LPD? Who are you and what have you done with the real smitty?

verity 7 years, 1 month ago

Her next "momentary lapse in judgment" might be my life.

Maybe the school over reacted, I won't make a judgment call on that, but, good grief, an educated 22-year-old should know better than to post anything questionable on the internet.

verity 7 years, 1 month ago

One has to wonder if there is more to this story. If she was an exemplary student it would be one thing, but if she wasn't, this might have been a final straw. We can't tell that from the information we have.

verity 7 years, 1 month ago

Thanks, Smitty, for the link. Does cast a somewhat different light on the matter.

I do hope the lives of the young women will not be ruined/badly damaged because of this, but I still think posting the photo on Facebook was really bad judgment. People keep getting into all sorts of trouble for posting things on Facebook and yet it keeps being done.

You can delete a photo from Facebook, but if somebody has downloaded it you no longer have control over it.

equalaccessprivacy 7 years, 1 month ago

Smitty posted the court motion. It should be reasonably complete.

I agree the former nursing student showed an incredible lack of good judgment, but however guilty she was she still is entitled to due process--which usually means a hearing--before any disciplinary actions are taken. Not providing this legally required safeguard opens the door for all sorts of unethical and unjust actions by school administrators. It basically allows them to yank someone's educational or employment rights on the basis of false charges. Many school administrators seem all too ready these days to assume the worst about students and workers. They point fingers to distract the world from seeing where the real blame belongs--on them.

Obviously this is a controversial case--not open and shut--there are multiple ways of looking at what happened and the facts and their various interpretations all deserve to be fairly and openly weighed.

equalaccessprivacy 7 years, 1 month ago

Here is an interesting article about human remains and medical ethics, but this time it's the doctors posing:

BigPrune 7 years, 1 month ago

I'll never forget going to a nursing student party back in the day and watching them draw pictures of a rolled up 10" long skin tag with a veneral wart on the end of it. This was after doing labor/delivery. I won't say where the skin tag was located. Quite a hoot, I guess.

equalaccessprivacy 7 years, 1 month ago

Although it might not get as much media attention, doctors and doctors in training often show the same bad-- cavalier to me-- taste. Just not squeamish types , I guess.

Randall Barnes 7 years, 1 month ago

Well if you don't want to see things that offend you then don't look at them.awesome job students keep up the good work i give you an A+. This is America freedom of speech and freedom of choice.yes freedom to not look at the photo or photos.

verity 7 years, 1 month ago

I think you totally missed the point here.

This is not about freedom of speech, this is about good judgment. I agree with the comment just below. Hopefully this will be a learning experience for a lot of people.

Erin Graham 7 years, 1 month ago

I question the professionalism of the former students. Had disciplinary actions not been taken, I would also question the quality and standards of the program they were in as well as question the quality and standards of the hospital. There are a lot of people pursuing nursing careers- a lot of people that work hard and take it seriously and deserve decent jobs. "Oops, I had a lapse in judgement and gave a patient the wrong medication." "Oops, I had a lapse in judgement and forgot I was taking care of someone in room 202".... People screw up and I understand that. But there's a difference between making a mistake and taking your career lightly, whatever it is. These idiots don't deserve a job over those that take the profession seriously.

jaywalker 7 years, 1 month ago

Come on folks! Forty plus comments and nobody has broached the most disconcerting aspect of this story? I've been away too long! I mean, seriously, how unfortunate is it to have 'Doyle' as a name for a woman?

verity 7 years, 1 month ago

I do hope the school rethinks this and reinstates the young women, which I think will probably happen when the school realizes the implications of their rash actions.

I have opted to donate my organs for transplant when I die, but I hesitate to donate my body for medical research because I know how disrespectfully bodies are often treated. Yes, I will no longer be inhabiting it, but generally civilized people show respect for bodies---burial and respect for the dead is often considered a step on the path to becoming human. I was taught as a child to not even walk over a grave.

I wonder if the worry over the lack of respect shown and the fact that it could influence people to not donate their body or body parts could have had something to do with the decision to expel. A placenta is not exactly the same thing as a liver or heart---at least to a lot of people, particularly the person who has just delivered a baby.

Paul R Getto 7 years, 1 month ago

"smitty (anonymous) says… In the West, the majority of placentas are dumped in the trash. But the placenta is considered sacred by some cultures. And virtually all mammals, including herbivorous ones, eat their afterbirth." === Good points. Reminds me of the joke about the young man who left his very pregnant wife with the old farmer. When he got back the baby was fine, but the wife was looking peevish because the old boy had her eat the placenta, just like the momma cows are wont to do. Poor judgement and another good example of why people should think before posting pictures on line. The punishment is too harsh, in my opinion.

Clovis Sangrail 7 years, 1 month ago

I have seen placentas, and I have also sliced up calf livers, and there is very little difference.

So I suppose if you sliced it and fried it up it with onions and bacon, it would probably be palatable, although personally, I would rather have chicken livers sauteed with a splash of cognac.

equalaccessprivacy 7 years, 1 month ago

Here is the version of the story published in insidehighered, which shows that indeed the story is receiving national attention from the higher education community:

I'm not exaggerating when I claim to be a recent witness of shockingly unprofessional behavior on the part of KU HR staff that matches or exceeds what this young nursing student did but can't be understood as mere youthful indiscretion. So far, I can only explain this conduct by referencing the seeming cultural deficiencies of this area of the country.The only difference was the official decision to lie about what actually happened-- to hide that and to create a mean-spirited and illegal alibi by blaming the victim-- which shows way crappier ethics than this nursing student has. She has owned up to her mistakes. As Tom Stoppard says, "Bad things happen to people all over, but it's worse in places where everything is kept in the dark."

equalaccessprivacy 7 years, 1 month ago

Actually, based on the unspeakable nightmare I was put through KU has been told by the feds to change their evil and ignorant ways, so don't kindly don't spout off or act like the typical challenged and presumptuous crowd I've had to deal with in your lovely precinct.

Also, double standards are indeed relevant when people decide it's their role to fix the world before they fix themselves. How dare you be so crude and cruel? I'm just saying, sometimes the people in charge are really not so high and mighty and above it all, especially in KS. In fact, they rarely are. Great, perceptive person you must be . Are you a real seeker after truth or just another false disciple? This case reminds me KU needs people to start suing them every time they violate due process rights.

verity 7 years, 1 month ago

I haven't seen anywhere who actually made the decision to expel the young women---or who reported that the photo was on Facebook. The assumption seems to be that it had something to do with the instructor, but that would hardly have been her call. I think there will be much more coming out as this case goes forward.

Chelsea Kapfer 7 years, 1 month ago

As an experienced nurse, I have to say-this is just how it is. It is unfortunate, but your superiors (the JCCC Staff/faculty) will immediately blame anyone and everyone else for a lapse in judgment. The students will take the fall for this, and the faculty will crucify them. This is how it is in the "real world" with nursing supervisors, doctors, pharmicists...sad, but true. Poop rolls downhill...right into the nurses lap.

verity 7 years, 1 month ago

The story is now on Huffington Post with three pages of comments. Yoohoo!

Rebecca Valburg 7 years, 1 month ago

I find the fact that this has become such as huge issue bizarre.

If JCCC was truly concerned about the placenta's privacy, wouldn't it have made a lot more sense to come up with policies, educate their instructors on them, notify the students, and THEN begin enforcing it? By handling it the way they have, that placenta has become the most viewed placenta in America (I certainly would have never seen it on her Facebook page).

Rebecca Valburg 7 years, 1 month ago

Past that, I think everyone needs to calm down a bit about "professionalism" and the girls' "judgment." If anything, I think the past few decades have seen a marked increase in the amount of respect the medical profession (students included) shows for the deceased. Talk to doctors that were educated 50 years ago, and you'll hear stories of cadaver parts kept as souvenirs or used in pranks. Talk to instructors teaching today and you'll find that even a decade or two ago, these things were still commonplace. I'll be the first to say, such behavior wasn't right - and a huge effort is now made to make sure the family gets the entire body back (even fat, hair, etc) and photos aren't taken (because really, who wants to recognize grandma's hand in a cadaver photo?).

That said, as mentioned before, good luck identifying the mother, or even baby, from that placenta photo. If health information can't be tied back to an individual, it's not subject to the privacy laws. So really, I don't see where it's any different than the human skeletons that float around science classrooms, and I've seen plenty of high school and college photos floating around or in yearbooks - class photos with a skeleton included, individuals smiling with a skull, etc. Those actually WERE people (and a lot of them shipped in from overseas, likely without their families' consent), and no one would have batted an eye had a photograph surfaced of her with a skeleton. It seems to me that people are panicking because 1) there's a bit of a yuck factor to placenta - but come on, it's not identifiable, and it's a body part that's designed to be shed - would they have kicked her out for posing with a pile of toenail clippings? and 2) it's on Facebook, and it's very fashionable to be a Facebook phobe these days. Here's a newsflash - a lot of us have had personal websites since the 1990s (Angelfire, anyone?), and it's actually MUCH easier to control what others see on Facebook than it was on the older sites, despite big hullabaloo about the lack of privacy on Facebook. Besides, let's be honest - how many of us are really so interesting that many people click on our photos anyway, besides our family and close friends, who we'd show our photos to even without an account? I suspect had JCCC stayed calm about this, the photo may have motivated a friend or two of hers to consider that nursing program (how cool is it that they were giving hands on training with an actual placenta?), and as is, all sorts of people are angry (either because the school kicked the girls out, or because they allowed such behavior in the first place).

Disappointing all around. Not cool.

livefoniks 7 years, 1 month ago

At least she wasn't making soup out of it.

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