Claim: Photographs and videos depict a nurse abusing an elderly patient.
Example: [Collected via Facebook, October 2015]
This photo was passed to me by a concerned citizen. It shows a nurse from a Home for the Elderly at ST James standing on an elderly guy, age 89. Allegedly the owner of the home is trying to keep it under low to avoid prosecution. Please help to get this viral to save our elderly. They are people too. How would you feel if someone did this to you. She needs to be arrested. I do hope or Insp. Alexander takes up this case.
Origins: On 22 October 2015, the Facebook page “ENT! BREAKING NEWS” shared the above-reproduced screen capture and status update, claiming that the image shown depicted a nurse “standing on an elderly guy” at “a Home for the Elderly at ST James.”
The page implored readers to “help get this viral” and “save our elderly,” but it didn’t provide any further information about the image purportedly received from a “concerned citizen.” Whether the individual from whom the image was obtained was in any way party to the scenario depicted was not apparent, but the Facebook post seemed to suggest that person was somehow directly involved, but that rather than reporting the incident through proper channels (implicitly for reasons of discretion), that person instead opted to spread the image worldwide via social media (thereby drawing far more attention to the purported abuse).
A separate and far less popular iteration involved a video titled “Head nurse caught standing on an elderly man at St. James,” published to YouTube on 22 October 2015:
Much like the image, that video featured a copy of a copy. The photograph version on Facebook was a screenshot of an image of unknown origin, and the video appeared to depict playback of a video on a separate device. Why both iterations were so removed from their sources was unclear. The rumor’s claims (that the woman was a nurse, that the man was an 89-year-old elder care home resident, that the nurse was abusing the man, that the incident occurred in West Trinidad) were unsupported by anything other than repetition. The date on which the images were recorded wasn’t provided, and whatever did occur (abuse or something else) might have happened years prior.
One skeptical user commented:
A picture without context means nothing. What it shows envokes outrage, of course. No one can advocate for unwarented aggression to the elderly, but we really don’t know what’s going on here. I am greatly dismayed by what I see, but I won’t be so quick to say fire/hang the woman. Were they fighting? Was she trying to wrestle a blade out of his hand because he was threatening to kill himself? Who knows? An investigation needs to happen but let’s not be so quick to condemn.
As the commenter observed, the events depicted were far from definitively described. Those sharing the photograph couldn’t know whether the image was truly taken at a nursing home (or a private residence), whether the woman was initially attacked by the man, whether the man was elderly, whether he was a patient of hers, or even that the interaction depicted was adversarial in nature. Despite widespread circulation of the photograph, no one has stepped forward to provide any information about the who, what, when, where, or why aspects of the rumor.
On 23 October 2015, Trinidad and Tobago’s CCN-TV reported that the woman seen here was arrested due to social media circulation of the video:
However, that outlet didn’t add any information to the story, such as the identities of those involved, the date of the incident, the circumstances under which the footage was filmed, or the reason the woman was arrested.
Last updated: 23 October 2015
Originally published: 23 October 2015