A photo of a frail elderly woman with her face nearly sunken into a pillow at a nursing home desk is stirring anger and prompted an investigation. The woman who took the picture is encouraging others to check on their loved ones who live in homes.

Pictured above is 80-year-old Esther Brown, whose son, James, – accompanied by his pastor – arrived at the Altercare of Nobles Pond facility for a visit. When they approached the area and realized someone was slumped over the desk, it caused Brown to yell out, “That’s my momma!”

Julia Wiggins, Brown’s pastor, photo-documented the sight while Brown searched for help. He said it took five to ten minutes of knocking and yelling before anyone came. The ordeal led to him filing a formal complaint with the Ohio Department of Health.

Wiggins shared news of the incident on Facebook where it went viral and caught the attention of news outlets. She strongly encourages people to pop up and check in on their family members to see if there are any signs of neglect or abuse.

“I had taken her son home to change clothes and when we returned, we were told she had been moved to a private room, so we were instructed 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 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, 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!!!! People please keep a close check on any of your loved ones if they are in these places, if you don’t, you might be preparing for a home going service before you were ready to do one.”

Since the story broke, Brown has received an outpouring of public support, and the state’s investigation is still ongoing. While a majority of people are appalled by the photo, calling it “heartbreaking” and “shameful”, not everyone seems to think everything is as it seems in the picture.

A few healthcare workers including nurses and CNAs have commented that the woman may have been placed in this position at the nurse’s station for her own safety. Some said that it is possible another resident moved her there.

They cite that patients with dementia can have incredible strength and dexterity, possibly leading to a situation like this. Whatever the case, the family understandably wants an investigation.

Hear James Brown speak out by watching the video below and learn what Altercare Nobles Pond had to say. And if you have a loved one in a facility, it is a good idea to do a pop-up visit.

Do you find this image to be outrageous? How would you have reacted if this was your loved one? Have you ever had to address issues with an elder care provider?