Spectrum doctor: Firing over patient’s photo unfair

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — An emergency room doctor has sued Spectrum Health Hospitals, saying it wrongfully eliminated her job over her Facebook post about a photo of the backside of a woman.

Dr. Catherine Puetz filed the suit in federal court Friday, 24 Hour News 8 confirmed, saying the hospital company incorrectly found her to have violated federal patient record policy rules. Puetz says she saw a picture Aug. 5, 2013, posted by a nurse.

Puetz says she thought she recognized the woman as someone she had seen both in public and at the Grand Rapids hospital. The doctor says she posted a comment on the photo saying: “OMG. Is that TB?”

Inside woodtv.com: Read the full 34-page lawsuit (pdf)

In the suit, she claims several other employees also posted comments on the photo, including a nurse who wrote, “I like big butts and I cannot lie.” That nurse was reprimanded but not fired, according to the suit.

During Spectrum’s informal investigation, Puetz claims, she was initially led to believe she was going to keep her job. Several employees were disciplined.

Puetz is asking for a total of $375,000 in judgements for five counts against Spectrum Health and other defendants, court documents show, including for injury to reputation, emotional harm and lost income; humiliation, embarrassment and shame for violation of privacy; injury of lost income, past and present and loss of future earning capacity; and injury to or infringement of copyrighted materials. She also asking that defendants be ordered to pay her attorney costs.

Spectrum declined to comment on Puetz’s lawsuit. Puetz and her attorney did not return calls for comment Sunday evening.

Puetz worked as a contractor for the hospital.

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