Cori E. Ward claimed she was “just being silly” when she filmed her daughter licking a tongue depressor, then returning it to its place.
Ward was arrested after her footage of the incident went viral. The video shows her daughter — the patient — drawing one of the tongue depressors from the cup in which they are kept in the exam room while medical staff are not present. She licks it, then puts it back.
Many were outraged at the stunt, deeming it inconsiderate of patients who could be endangered by contaminating something that would be placed in another patient’s mouth. With the clip’s popularity, Ward has begun to receive death threats. But the real question remains: Why did it happen in the first place?
“Why do it and record it? I had just been waiting a long time. I was just being silly with my kids,” Ward told local CBS affiliate WJXT. “What I didn’t know was that there was a ‘licking challenge’ as I don’t scroll social media like that.” Ward also claims the video is not a complete record of what took place:
The video doesn’t show that the items were thrown away or anything else that happened. I posted this on my personal Snapchat with my 20-something friends, where someone allowed another person to video it. I didn’t post it on Facebook or YouTube as a challenge or whatever.
The All About Kids and Families Medical Center in Jacksonville has responded with a statement, saying:
Upon notification of this isolated incident, we contacted law enforcement to a full and thorough investigation. In addition, we immediately removed all materials and container from the specific exam room and re-sanitized our entire facility.
Authorities have charged Ward with “tampering with a consumer product without regard for possible death or bodily injury,” a felony. “If I could go back and change it, I definitely would,” she tearfully told WJXT.