Mom Gets Arrested After Girl Licks Tongue Depressor at Doctor's Office & Puts It Back


girl licked a tongue depressor

A mom from Jacksonville, Florida, is paying the price for seeking internet laughs and is now in serious legal trouble. Cori Ward, 30, was arrested after she allegedly allowed her daughter to lick a tongue depressor at a doctor's office and then placed it back into the container. The mom recorded the prank, but little did she know that instead of getting praise for the joke, she would be heavily penalized for putting other kids' health at risk. 

  • Ward claimed she "wasn't thinking" when she allowed her daughter to lick a tongue depressor and put it back.

    In footage of the incident that went viral online, it shows Ward's daughter in a doctor's office. The girl then removes a tongue depressor from a jar sitting on a desk, licks it, and then puts it back in the jar.

    A sign above the jar reads: "Please do not touch medical supplies! Thank you!"

    To which Ward responded in the caption of her video, "Don’t tell me how to live my life."

    The mom then posted the video on Snapchat, News4Jax reported, and from there it found its way to the popular Facebook page "Only in Duval."

    "I had just been waiting a long time," Ward explained when asked why she allowed her daughter to put the medical tool in her mouth at the All About Kids & Families Medical Center in Duval, Florida. "I was just being silly with my kids."

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  • But when the story made its way to Facebook, it went viral and people were furious that the mom had been so lax.

    NTD reported that the mom attempted to defend herself to critics online, who claimed that she pulled the stunt in response to an earlier incident with a girl from Texas who was harangued online for licking a pint of Blue Bonnet ice cream and then placing it back into a supermarket freezer. Today noted that the girl who performed the ice cream "prank" technically is a minor and added that she may face charges "at the discretion of the juvenile justice system" as the stunt was later labelled a public health concern. 

    People were similarly up in arms about Ward's video because a doctor could unknowingly use the tongue depressor Ward's daughter licked on another patient and spread disease or infection.

    But the mom told NTD that she wasn't aware of a "'licking challenge' as I don’t scroll social media like that," she said. The mom added the the depressor was later thrown away.

    "The video doesn’t show that the items were thrown away or anything else that happened," she said. "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." Ward then deleted her Facebook account, but the damage was already done.

    The medical center where the video took place told ActionNewsJax that it had alerted police of the mom's actions after the mom herself admitted to them that she had pulled the stunt. "We contacted law enforcement for a full and thorough investigation," the All About Kids & Families Medical Center wrote in a statement.

  • The mom was arrested on Thursday, July 11 and faces a charge of tampering with consumer products without regard for possible death/bodily harm.

    The offense is considered a felony-level crime, but it's not clear if Ward will be prosecuted for her actions. If convicted, the mom could face up to 20 years for her Snap, but ultimately State Attorney Melissa Nelson will decide if the charges will stick. "If [Nelson] decides not to charge then the matter is simply diverted or it’s transferred to court -- meaning moved from a felony to a misdemeanor,” Action News Jax Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson explained.

    And in an interview conducted with the mom before her arrest, she expressed regret for her actions. “I mean honestly I wasn’t thinking," the mother of five admitted on Wednesday, the day before she was arrested. “I know what it’s like to, you know, have to worry about your kids’ health and stuff. I would never put somebody else’s kid at risk.”

  • The mom also expressed that she's scared for her children, who would be left without her care if she were to go to prison.

    The mom told News4Jax that she was afraid her children would be taken away from her. "I just care about my kids and how this is going to affect them," she said. 

    Crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson added that police are taking the issue seriously "simply because of all of the communicable diseases that can be floating around by virtue of this kind of act. I think the message is loud and clear, if this sort of thing continues to go on, they’re going to continue to make arrests," he said.

    The medical center said that after Ward's confession, it removed all the materials from the room she was in and re-sanitized them. The center also said that patients of the facility had no reason to fear coming back.

    "This type of behavior is not tolerated at All About Kids and Families Medical Center. Each year, we serve thousands of patients, and providing quality care and ensuring their safety is our top priority," a spokesperson said.

    “I’m sorry for anyone that it’s offended. It should have never been taken this far,” Ward told NTD before her arrest. “It’s ruined my life right now. That’s how I feel at least.” 

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