Late last month, an Oregon jury found Nai Mai Chao, 26, guilty of invasion of the personal privacy of elderly or disabled patients after finding that she took graphic photographs of them with the contents of bed pans at the nursing home where she worked and posted them on her Facebook wall in April 2011. She denied taking the photos, but admitted posting them to her Wall where some of her Facebook friends jokingly commented on a number of them. Some, however, commented with disgust including a coworker who recognized one patient by the bandages on his bed sores and reported Chao.
During trial, a senior nurse from the nursing home where Chao worked near Portland testified that one of the subjects of Chao’s photographs was told that he had been photographed naked and incontinent without his consent. She testified that he was humiliated after this revelation and died two months after the Facebook posting.
Ms. Chao was sentenced and has served eight days in jail. The consequences of her actions also resulted in a $500 fine, being ordered to write a 1,000-word apology to a patient that “should be an insightful look at why the defendant did what she did,” being fired from her job at the nursing home, revocation of her nursing license by the Oregon State Board of Nursing, and entry into a database that precludes her from becoming a nurse in any state. Additionally, for two years she is prohibited from work that would require her to care for children, the elderly, or other vulnerable people, she must avoid social media, including Facebook, Google+, Twitter and MySpace and she must refrain from photographing people without their explicit consent.