A nursing home in Ohio is raising concerns after an 80-year-old patient was found slumped over on an office desk. Her son claims he found his mother “gasping for breath” and being choked by her own saliva.
According to WOIO, Esther Brown was receiving nursing home care and assisted living care at Altercare Nobles Pond in Canton at the time of the incident.
James Brown was with the family’s pastor when he made an unexpected visit to the facility and found a very disturbing situation.
On Saturday during a late-night visit, he found Esther face down in a pillow while in a private room alone.
Shocked by the disheartening sight, his pastor, Julia Wiggins, shared two jarring photos of the elderly woman to urge families to make surprise visits to nursing facilities to check on their loved ones.
Wiggins explained the photo in a Facebook post.
She said she had taken James home to change his clothes and came back to the center to find that Esther was moved to a private room. They searched for the woman but could not “find anyone.” Wiggins recalled:
I noticed something in the corner of the nurses station. After being inquisitive we approached the subject only to find out that it was Mother Esther Brown face down into a soft pillow gasping for breath and strangling on her own saliva.
We were there banging on doors and yelling for help for about 5 to 10 minutes before someone came to assist.
James was heartbroken after his discovery. Wiggins writes:
Her son began to cry out that’s my momma and we hurried to her and upon hearing her son’s voice she tried with all her might to raise her head!
After expressing her frustrations, Wiggins encouraged families to “make random visits” to care centers and nursing homes between the second and third shifts.
She told ABC 5 Cleveland:
“We couldn’t tell that it was a human. I thought it was a cat that they had brought in. The length of time that we spent banging, screaming and looking for assistance, she never came.”
The heartbreaking photo was shared over 20,000 times over the weekend and sparked an investigation with the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Aging.
The family has filed a complaint against Altercare Nobles Pond. The facility said in a statement:
We were informed of a family complaint on February 15, 2019. We have followed the protocol established regarding any allegation, including immediately reporting the concern to the Ohio Department of Health and completing an internal investigation.
The Browns believe Esther was neglected in the facility. The care center and the health department are both looking into the allegations.
Watch the family of the elderly woman speak out in the video: