'Psychic' Nurse Fired For Accessing Patient Records

Lori Niell Says Supervisors Uncomfortable About Her Abilities

A Colorado Springs nurse is denying claims she misused patient records at Memorial Hospital.

Lori Niell was fired after hospital and city officials accused her of accessing the medical records of 2,500 patients without cause.

Niell said she was unfairly targeted because of her psychic abilities.

Niell told the Colorado Springs Gazette she made her supervisors uncomfortable, so they accused her of accessing the medical history of patients and using that information to pretend to be a psychic.

"I certainly did not misuse anyone’s medical information because I have integrity," Niell told the paper. "I remain uncharged and unarrested and I expect to remain that way."

A police investigation is under way.

Niell was an occupational health nurse for the city for eight years -- not a Memorial Hospital employee -- and had no medical or other work-related reason for accessing the hospital's records, said hospital spokesman Brian Newsome.

He said Niell was accessing the records when she wasn’t at work and wasn’t doing it as part of her job.

Niell admitted to the Gazette that she did use the database for personal reasons, such as to look up the phone number of a friend that she had lost but she said that using the patient database in that way is common practice for many in the medical community.

The Physician Link database is encrypted and password-protected.

Niell said her supervisor was looking for a way to fire her after Niell told her about a possible life-threatening condition and the supervisor became angry. Niell admitted she later accessed the database to see if the supervisor heeded her advice and sought treatment.

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