Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I made a mistake

OK - I'm putting this back. With the disclaimer -- with the feeling -- that I have to explain myself a bit more. Only about 10-15 people saw the video, and most of those were people I know or know the client. I understand that my intent in showing that video is/was not clear to some people... and I just have to say that that is the kind of person I am. I show videos of my kids. I share photos. Things that are important and meaningful to me -- I like to share.

Yes, I made a mistake - it happens. I learned.

Not sure if any of you saw... but last week I had posted a fifteen second video of one of my clients -- taken with my phone while visiting her in the nursing home. I felt that you couldn't see her face - so that it was safe to post it. I had uploaded it to YouTube, emailed it to a few people who knew her - and posted on facebook.

I figured - about 10 people (more or less) look at this blog every day & it's only my friends on Facebook. So it's closed.



Friday morning I get into work & there's a voice mail message from one of my co-workers who I had emailed the video to. "It's a HIPPA violation. It's a confidentiality violation. You could be fired!" I took it down.

I called her up. She was all: Client can't give consent to have picture taken because doesn't have capacity, it's exploitative, it looked like you were doing this art project on YouTube... don't you know people can take the video, change it - email it... client looked disheveled. Why would you do this?

And I was in shock.

It so was not my intention.

I went to the NH & saw this client there.... and she looked so good... was doing so well -- and I wanted to remember her. I wanted to share her. I took these videos that showed her personality - and wanted to share it here because it was important to me. Meaningful. The same reason why I wanted to email it to these people.. who I thought felt the same way about her. I thought they'd be so appreciative... to have the video... to see her - to have the memory of how she is/was.

I felt awful. I felt awful that collegues would think this of me -- that it was construed this way. And I felt awful that I really did breach social work ethics. And I was worried. What should I do? Tell my supervisor? What if somebody else had seen it? Did something with it? I went through this blog and deleted every post having to do with clients/work... Because you know, I work in a very very close community. People all know each other & each other's business. They have grown up here, known each other & their families all their lives. If I mention anything & somebody from down here reads it -- chances are they will be able to figure out who it is I'm blogging about.

Could I really be fired?

I was a wreck.

I texted a woman I used to work with. We had shared an office & became very good friends and even though she's younger than me, has been a social worker a good deal longer. I told her what happened & the first thing she said was "Anybody who knows you knows you have a good heart and would never do anything intentional to hurt a client." Which made me feel good. And made me wonder why these other collegues who had seen it had automatically thought the worst. (They explained it as "feeling protective of the client.....")

I talked to her & she said that everybody breaks ethics every once in a while. It's a learning experience. I did this with my heart, not my head... And that she really doubted I'd be fired. She reminded me that , the co-worker I had originally spoken to had a bit of a history of hystrionics...

So yesterday I called my supervisor & told her: "I made a mistake and I fixed it." And explained what happened. And you know... I pretty much worried all weekend about this (because I never over think or over worry about stuff) and she said: "Ok. You made a mistake. Thanks for telling me. You thought with your people hat - no social worker hat. It happens."


After all that worrying.

But I do have to think about how I'm going to write about work stuff... and it made me think about how with this blogging, facebook, you tube, twitter.. how so much of your life is out there... and it almost becomes second nature. Kind of freaked me out a bit. I like the fact that not a lot of people read this. It's FINE with me. But I like the community of it - I like the people I have met & am meeting...

But I have to think about all of this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You should have known better, I'm sorry, but especially in your position. You not only put it on here, but on Facebook and then on the highly visited YouTube where anyone can take it and send it out. If she was my grandmother or my mother, I would be furious. If you took a video, if anything, you should have sent it to the family or just kept it for yourself and the select other employees that know her. Not made it public for everyone to see and share.

I understand you meant well and your heart was in the right place because you wanted to share what a great person this woman is, but YouTube-ing it and putting in on Facebook was wrong.