An oncology nurse in Oregon has been placed on administrative leave after posting a video on social media showing disregard for COVID-19 restrictions.
In the video, uploaded Friday to TikTok, the nurse, identified by Salem Health hospital officials as Ashley Grames, says she doesn’t wear a mask in public outside of work, continues to travel and allows her children to have playdates.
Grames’ original post, on her account @loveiskind05, has been taken down, but a “duet” recorded by another user includes the original footage. The video shows the nurse mocking her coworkers’ response to her lack of COVID-19 precautions through a lip-dub of Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
User @loveiskind05’s account has been deleted from TikTok.
The video sparked controversy and swift outcry in the community.
Marion County has had among the highest number of cases in Oregon, and Salem Hospital has been on the Oregon Health Authority’s list of workplaces with the highest number of employee-related cases since May.
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According to the state’s latest weekly report, Salem Hospital has the highest employee-related count of any hospital in the state.
Salem Health officials addressed the video on Facebook, calling it a “cavalier disregard for the seriousness of the pandemic.” They thanked community members who brought the video to their attention.
“This one careless statement does not reflect the position of Salem Health or the hardworking and dedicated caregivers who work here,” officials said.
Hospital staff has strict masking, social distancing, screening and infectious disease protocols in place, officials said. “These policies are strictly enforced among staff from the moment they leave their cars at work to the moment they start driving home.”
An investigation is pending while Grames is on leave.
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There are more than 800 comments on Salem Health’s post — most scolding the nurse’s actions, many calling for her to be fired and her license to be revoked.
One comment read: “She is putting her patients at risk- CANCER patients. Unacceptable behavior. Firing her is the only acceptable response. People could lose their lives/their loved ones because of her carelessness. I hope you value your patients enough to rid your environment of those who don’t care for their safety.
Some applauded the hospital’s response.
“I know everyone is upset and wants her fired, but be patient,” one individual wrote. “Salem Health is following protocol and going to investigate the matter…as they should. While we want justice quickly and swiftly, we all do have to remember that justice often requires patience. At least she’s not working while the administration completes its investigation.”
Multiple community members took to the hospital’s Facebook to write negative reviews.
One person wrote: “Ashley Grames should have her nursing license revoked for bragging about not wearing a mask or practicing social distancing while being an oncology nurse — exposing some of the most immunocompromised people is absolutely disgusting and embarrassing behavior for a medical professional.”
“Who would ever go to a Hospital where their nurses don’t understand basic public health protocols?” another reviewer wrote. “If your staff doesn’t ‘believe’ in science how can you be a medical facility. Wonder how dirty this place is.”
Virginia Barreda is the breaking news and public safety reporter for the Statesman Journal. Follow her on Twitter at @vbarreda2.