Facebook photos mock pensioners in their beds at Abergavenny hospital

Facebook photos mock pensioners in their beds at Abergavenny hospital

Facebook photos mock pensioners in their beds at Abergavenny hospital

CONCERN: Older persons’ commissioner for Wales Sarah Rochira

First published in Gwent news

AN INVESTIGATION is under way after pictures of sick pensioners on a hospital ward were posted on a social networking site.

Two bed-ridden women were photographed on a ward at Nevill Hall Hospital, Abergavenny, with the image placed on Facebook along with a string of comments mocking them for throwing up, having “accidents”, false teeth and a “green mist” surrounding them.

The Aneurin Bevan Health Board (ABHB) confirmed it is investigating a complaint made about the photo and says it is treating the breach of confidentiality “extremely seriously”.

A photograph was posted using a mobile phone by a fellow patient, who the Argus has decided not to name, with friends commenting things like “There’s a funny green mist surrounding her” and “Why have they put you on the old birds ward! That’s just cruel”.

An incensed Facebook user spotted the exchanges and notified South Wales East AM Lindsay Whittle, who contacted the Aneurin Bevan Health Board and the older persons’ commissioner.

Mr Whittle said: “I’m appalled that the privacy of unwell patients has been breached while in hospital.

“It is extremely insensitive of this lady and her friends to post comments of such a derogatory nature.”

The patient refers to her empty bed, visible in the photo, saying “I’m not getting into that bed for her to get me”, to which her friend replies “There’s a funny green mist surrounding her.

I’d be scared too”.

Another friend, then joins in saying she laughed out loud (LOL) on the bus on seeing “that old bird”, but admits feeling an “inch small” when she noticed a pensioner sat next to her looking at her phone.

The patient then refers to one patient, saying “LOL funny, she’s boffing (being sick) now”, before joking “She asked me if I would get her false teeth for her, omg no way”.

Friends then say they will “storm the place and break you out”.

Mr Whittle has called for tighter controls on communication technology in hospitals.

Aspokesman for the ABHB said: “We have a clear policy about the use of mobile phones in hospitals. They should only be used for communication purposes and not to take photographs.

“We take any breach of confidentiality extremely seriously and took immediate action as soon as we were made aware of this concern.

“Facebook have been contacted with a request that the photographs be taken down.”

‘Invasion’ of patient privacy

OLDER persons’ commissioner for Wales Sarah Rochira said: “This post shows no respect and is a sad example of the stereotypical way in which older people are often portrayed.”

It was described as “an invasion of the older patients’ privacy”, with Ms Rochira adding: “I have spoken with the health board to express my concerns and I am reassured by the action that they have in hand. The immediate priority for all of us must be the protection of the older people in the photograph.”

Comments (11)

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2:08pm Thu 27 Sep 12

steve'o says...

I don't think any blame can be attributed to the Health Board - in fairness, they cannot confiscate all mobile phones on admission to hospital, and if this patient is able to move about the ward freely, then she obviously does not need constant observation.
I don't think any blame can be attributed to the Health Board - in fairness, they cannot confiscate all mobile phones on admission to hospital, and if this patient is able to move about the ward freely, then she obviously does not need constant observation. steve'o
  • Score: 0

2:52pm Thu 27 Sep 12

PontyPeter says...

By printing this photo and repeating the facebook posts in this article, the Argus is complicit in this sorry affair.
Typical gutter journalism. Print the stuff so we can all have a laugh and then pretend to be outraged.
By printing this photo and repeating the facebook posts in this article, the Argus is complicit in this sorry affair. Typical gutter journalism. Print the stuff so we can all have a laugh and then pretend to be outraged. PontyPeter
  • Score: 0

3:03pm Thu 27 Sep 12

Kevin Ward - Editor says...

PontyPeter - I rarely reply to criticism bcause we are fair game but I cannot let your post go unanswered.
Your view - and of course you are entitled to express it - could not be further from the truth.
We have gone out of our way to ensure no-one can be identified in this report or in any images. There is no legal requirement on us to do so but it would be wrong not to.
This is a matter that has been raised with the local health board by an Assembly member.
I think we are perfectlty justified in reporting it - it would be impossible to do so properly without including some detail.
I would be very surprised if anyone was 'having a laugh' about it.
PontyPeter - I rarely reply to criticism bcause we are fair game but I cannot let your post go unanswered. Your view - and of course you are entitled to express it - could not be further from the truth. We have gone out of our way to ensure no-one can be identified in this report or in any images. There is no legal requirement on us to do so but it would be wrong not to. This is a matter that has been raised with the local health board by an Assembly member. I think we are perfectlty justified in reporting it - it would be impossible to do so properly without including some detail. I would be very surprised if anyone was 'having a laugh' about it. Kevin Ward - Editor
  • Score: 0

8:09pm Thu 27 Sep 12

stevey says...

The Editor is spot on here, this has to be reported and as he says, no-one can be identified but it gives you an idea of how sick the person who posted these pictures are. How enraged would we be if it were a relative of ours?
To my mind the guilty person should never work with humans or animals ever again and should be sterilised too, could you really trust them to care for and bring up a child properly?
The Editor is spot on here, this has to be reported and as he says, no-one can be identified but it gives you an idea of how sick the person who posted these pictures are. How enraged would we be if it were a relative of ours? To my mind the guilty person should never work with humans or animals ever again and should be sterilised too, could you really trust them to care for and bring up a child properly? stevey
  • Score: 0

8:25pm Thu 27 Sep 12

Limestonecowboy says...

why can't the Argus name the guy who took the photos then we can all have a jolly good laugh by posting comments at this person.
why can't the Argus name the guy who took the photos then we can all have a jolly good laugh by posting comments at this person. Limestonecowboy
  • Score: 0

9:25pm Thu 27 Sep 12

Katie Re-Registered says...

“We take any breach of confidentiality extremely seriously and took immediate action as soon as we were made aware of this concern."

I think ABHB are missing another point here. This is also a breach of the patients' human dignity. Once people start regarding and treating their fellow humans in such a contemptuous manner then humanity is on the road to destruction. The person/people who took these photos and posted such offensive comments on facebook should be named, shamed and then sacked as they do not deserve to work in a hospital with elderly people any more than a paedophile should be allowed to work in a school. We should feel the same sense of outrage here against these cruel people as we would at a paedophile who worked in a school and uploaded pictures of the children there for the amusement and delectation of a ring of abusers. Don't forget: many elderly people can be as vulnerable and helpless as children and are open to abuse from those who seek to exploit the weak and vulnerable for their own self-gratification.
“We take any breach of confidentiality extremely seriously and took immediate action as soon as we were made aware of this concern." I think ABHB are missing another point here. This is also a breach of the patients' human dignity. Once people start regarding and treating their fellow humans in such a contemptuous manner then humanity is on the road to destruction. The person/people who took these photos and posted such offensive comments on facebook should be named, shamed and then sacked as they do not deserve to work in a hospital with elderly people any more than a paedophile should be allowed to work in a school. We should feel the same sense of outrage here against these cruel people as we would at a paedophile who worked in a school and uploaded pictures of the children there for the amusement and delectation of a ring of abusers. Don't forget: many elderly people can be as vulnerable and helpless as children and are open to abuse from those who seek to exploit the weak and vulnerable for their own self-gratification. Katie Re-Registered
  • Score: 0

9:34pm Thu 27 Sep 12

Katie Re-Registered says...

"Friends then say they will “storm the place and break you out”."

Btw...This person's friends might be well advised to be a little more mindful about what they say on the Internet even in jest as there have been a few cases where people have jokingly made similar threats about raiding airport terminals and have been arrested on suspicion of terrorism.
"Friends then say they will “storm the place and break you out”." Btw...This person's friends might be well advised to be a little more mindful about what they say on the Internet even in jest as there have been a few cases where people have jokingly made similar threats about raiding airport terminals and have been arrested on suspicion of terrorism. Katie Re-Registered
  • Score: 0

9:38pm Thu 27 Sep 12

PontyPeter says...

Where did I state that this story "should not be reported"?
My criticism is that the Argus has seemingly taken great delight in reprinting these offensive comments. There are at least a dozen "quotes" from Facebook.
I would have thought your journalists could have adequately reported this story without resorting to repeating these. I would not describe this article as merely "including some detail"; but rather regurgitating the material for the amusement of your readers.
If these comments were offensive in Facebook, from where they ought to be removed, then they are offensive, and remain so, in the Argus.
Where did I state that this story "should not be reported"? My criticism is that the Argus has seemingly taken great delight in reprinting these offensive comments. There are at least a dozen "quotes" from Facebook. I would have thought your journalists could have adequately reported this story without resorting to repeating these. I would not describe this article as merely "including some detail"; but rather regurgitating the material for the amusement of your readers. If these comments were offensive in Facebook, from where they ought to be removed, then they are offensive, and remain so, in the Argus. PontyPeter
  • Score: 0

10:16pm Thu 27 Sep 12

pwharley says...

Limestonecowboy wrote:
why can't the Argus name the guy who took the photos then we can all have a jolly good laugh by posting comments at this person.
It wasn't a guy.
“It is extremely insensitive of this lady and her friends to post comments of such a derogatory nature” gives a clue!
[quote][p][bold]Limestonecowboy[/bold] wrote: why can't the Argus name the guy who took the photos then we can all have a jolly good laugh by posting comments at this person.[/p][/quote]It wasn't a guy. “It is extremely insensitive of this lady and her friends to post comments of such a derogatory nature” gives a clue! pwharley
  • Score: 0

11:22pm Thu 27 Sep 12

Limestonecowboy says...

pwharley wrote:
Limestonecowboy wrote: why can't the Argus name the guy who took the photos then we can all have a jolly good laugh by posting comments at this person.
It wasn't a guy. “It is extremely insensitive of this lady and her friends to post comments of such a derogatory nature” gives a clue!
lady-guy/guy-lady does it matter its not the issue here!!
[quote][p][bold]pwharley[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Limestonecowboy[/bold] wrote: why can't the Argus name the guy who took the photos then we can all have a jolly good laugh by posting comments at this person.[/p][/quote]It wasn't a guy. “It is extremely insensitive of this lady and her friends to post comments of such a derogatory nature” gives a clue![/p][/quote]lady-guy/guy-lady does it matter its not the issue here!! Limestonecowboy
  • Score: 0

7:55pm Fri 28 Sep 12

Davi says...

Whoever the patient was her and her friends have a problem with the elderly..they must remember with luck they may get old one day..And this should be reported and it's a shame the callous inpatient who took the photo can't be named and shamed but if that's not possible she should get an hefty fine for breaching those patients privacy..
Whoever the patient was her and her friends have a problem with the elderly..they must remember with luck they may get old one day..And this should be reported and it's a shame the callous inpatient who took the photo can't be named and shamed but if that's not possible she should get an hefty fine for breaching those patients privacy.. Davi
  • Score: 0

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