Julia Wiggins said she was horrified when she and Esther Brown’s son arrived at a nursing home to visit and found Brown “face down into a soft pillow gasping for breath and strangling on her own saliva.”
“That’s my momma,” her son James Brown shouted.
Wiggin, the Brown family’s pastor, posted photos to Facebook and hundreds have shared their own outrage at the condition in which the 80-year-old was discovered.
A local reporter spoke to an official at Ohio’s department on aging who said the photos are “very disturbing” and “worthy of an investigation.”
The Brown family, incensed at the woman’s treatment, has filed a complaint.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Pastor Julia Wiggins Posted the Photos of Brown on Facebook, Which Has 13,000-Plus Comments
Julia Wiggins of the Christ Centered Ministries of Hope posted two images to Facebook last week and explained what occurred. She said she’d driven Esther Brown’s son James to the Alter Care Noble Pond nursing home in Jackson Township, Ohio to visit his mother. Upon arrival, she and Brown were told his mother had been moved to another room and were told to go to the other side of the facility.
“Once getting on the other side we could not find anyone, and I noticed something in the corner of the nurse’s 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, 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! I was able to capture two pictures to share with you so you would know, never to leave your loved ones in the care of people who are only on the job for a paycheck! We were there banging on doors and yelling for help for about 5 to 10 minutes before someone came to assist. I am very upset that of all nursing facilities, this one was supposed to be the best in all of Stark County!”
2. Wiggins Said She’d Had Problems Getting Into the Facility Previously at Night With the Same Staff Member
“Even after bible study last evening I took her son back to Noble Pond’s to stay with his mom, he had buzzed into the facility 5 times and no one answered, only after I called into the facility to notify the nurse that we had been buzzing in 5 times now, she said that the light never came on that someone was at the door, I don’t believe her for one minute, because it was the same nurse who neglected his Mother on Saturday night.”
Wiggins said she called the nursing home’s executive director after finding Brown slumped on a pillow and allegedly “suffocating.” She said the supervisor called her back two days later.
3. The Nursing Home Said Esther Brown is ‘Well Cared For’
According to the Altercare Nobles Pond 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.”
It’s reported that the Altercare Nobles Pond director contacted Wiggins and Brown. According to the nursing home’s website, the executive director is Brenda L. Pedro, LNHA.
“We are in contact with her family including her son who visits daily. The resident is in no distress and remains well cared for by the Altercare Nobles Pond team of dedicated professionals. She is comfortable and safe,” Pedro was reported to have said.
4. State Officials are Reportedly Investigating
Cleveland 19 News quoted the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Beverly Laubert with the Ohio Department of Aging as saying the social media post she was shown was “very disturbing” and “worthy of an investigation.”
Local media reported that the Ohio Department of Health and The Ohio Department of Aging have been notified and are both looking into the situation.
5. AlterCare is ‘Out of Compliance’ Per the State Health Department But for What Isn’t Clear; the Report is Not on the State Website
For an unknown reason, the files of a survey of the facility from 2018, where the most recent survey says the facility fell out of compliance based on complaints, is not on the website, but survey files that show no current complaints, like the one from June of 2018, nonetheless notes the facility is not in compliance. For what specifically is not immediately clear.
The facility is a 71-bed skilled nursing rehab. It reports it is a “Medicare five-star rated facility and an American Health Care Association bronze award winner — recognitions achieved through exceptional quality care, successful state of Ohio surveys and above standard staffing ratios.”