Former Covenant employee admits taking photo of naked patient - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Former Covenant employee admits taking photo of naked patient

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

A former hospital employee admits she took a photo of a naked patient in Covenant Hospital's emergency room.

Kimberly Niedert of Washburn said she worked at Covenant for 15 years as a housekeeper. Her most recent position was to clean the ER.

She told KWWL's Shelley Russell when she was working her shift on May 26, she took a photo on her cell phone of a female patient in the ER who was naked.

Niedert said a colleague dared her to because the patient was "drawing attention to herself."

"If someone dares me to do something, I don't want them to think, 'Oh, she's a chicken.' So I did, and after that I thought, 'Oh God, that's stupid,' so I erased it...and that's what cost me my job."

Niedert claims she did not include the woman's head in the photo she took on her cell phone.

No one with Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare would talk to KWWL about the incident. 

A spokesman said the incident has been handled internally.

However, documents obtained by KWWL -- from an unemployment benefits appeal hearing that happened earlier this month -- show the hospital terminated Niedert because of a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violation.

According to an exhibit used in the hearing, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare documented the incident as follows:

"On May 26, 2014, Kim was seen taking a picture of a naked patient (as seen on the monitor at the nurse's station) on her cell phone. Two staff members confronted Kim shortly after this occurred, and she admitted to taking the photo. She showed them her phone where the two staff members saw the photo first hand, and asked her to delete it. She agreed to delete it, and did not have any other pictures on her cell phone. Kim was sent home pending an investigation."

Niedert admits what she did was stupid, but she feels her privacy wasn't respected either because she said hospital employees talked about why she was fired.

Her appeal for unemployment benefits was turned down by an administrative law judge who stated, according to documents obtained by KWWL, that Niedert's actions showed "a blatant and wanton disregard for the employer's interests. Her actions were a deliberate violation of the standards of behavior that employer has the right to expect of its employees."

Niedert said she'd do anything to get her job back because she loved working at Covenant.

She said she didn't know the woman she took a photo of, and that she was "very sorry" for her actions.

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