Heated discussions began after a woman shared a photo posted by two nursing home aides captioned “Felt cute ... might drop your grandma later.” The post appeared to be a riff on the viral #FeltCute challenge.
Kristine Blankenship shared the photo of the aides — identified as Cassie Moses and Symara Rakestraw, former employees of Etowah Health Care Center in Etowah, Tenn. — in a Facebook post on Sunday. In her post, she details how she lost her mother-in-law because of “neglect and abuse.”
“This was sent to me this morning. Not funny at all!” she wrote. “I lost my mom-in-law and my friend just lost his mom due to neglect and abuse!! Shame on you!!”
Though Blankenship does not know the two women personally — and says a friend sent her a screenshot of the post — she tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she was “very upset” when she saw it and “thought it was very disgusting.”
“I had a mother-in-law that lived with us, and it got to a situation where she needed more, but we could not give it to her at home,” she says. “It upset me, especially knowing what kind of abuse and neglect is going on in America in nursing homes.”
People commented on the post, one claiming that she previously reported Moses for inappropriate behavior during Certified Nursing Assistant's training.
“I’ve reported this Cassie person years ago when I was teaching CNAs there. My students were at clinicals. This CNA is employed there and was taking mean selfies via Snapchat including her and residents,” the comment reads. “I see no action was taken. Wow. Just wow.”
Another added, “The two of them should be blacklisted so they are NEVER able to work in ANY health care field ever again!!”
According to Moses, the photo was intended to be a joke and “wasn’t taken in a facility or near patients.” However, Blankenship says that one of the aides’ coworkers sent her a Facebook message that read, “This picture was taken last night and it’s not an old picture. This is what they were doing instead of working.”
Both of the aides, who have since lost their jobs, are refuting these allegations, claiming that taking a photo in a lift doesn’t warrant accusations about “elderly abuse.” According to Rakestraw, Blankenship’s mother-in-law passed away in a facility with which she has no affiliation.
“This is a case about slander, defamation of character and bullying,” Rakestraw tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Half the world isn't even making it about abuse anymore. Now we're trashy and wh**** and god knows what else.”
Moses adds that it’s a case of “stalking and harassment.” “She literally stalked us to find out where we worked at,” she says.
In addition to this, Moses tells Yahoo Lifestyle that they were not fired from Etowah Health Care Center for posting the photo, but because it brought too much attention that the facility was not able to handle. The health center declined to comment.
“They couldn’t have the media circling them and said, ‘Sorry this happened,’” she says, adding that her manager even commented on the original photo, laughing at the joke.
NBC 24 reports that the two are working to sue Blankenship for harassment and stalking, but Moses declined to confirm this to Yahoo Lifestyle.
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