• Mom of girl seen licking medical equipment in Jacksonville-area doctor's office arrested

    By: Action News Jax

    Updated:

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Action News Jax's Alicia Tarancon was in the courtroom Friday morning when the bond was set for a local mother arrested for allegedly tampering with a consumer product. Watch a live report on CBS47 at Noon:  

    UPDATE, 7/12/19, 10:14 a.m.:  Cori Ward, the mother who was arrested after filmimg her daughter licking tongue depressors at a doctor'ss office had her bond set to $2,500.

    She’s been told she cannot have contact with the doctor’s office or any social media.

    PHOTOS: Mother arrested has courtroom appearance

    UPDATE, 7/11/19, 5 p.m.: Action News Jax has learned that the girl's mother, 30-year-old Cori Ward has been arrested. According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, she is facing a charge of tamper with consumer product without regard for possible death/bodily injury.

    The local mother who told Action News Jax she regrets posting a now viral video showing a child lick a tongue depressor and then put it back at a Jacksonville doctor’s office, is charged with a felony.

    Cori Ward was arrested Thursday, less than 24 hours after she spoke with Action News Jax’s Beth Rousseau.

    When Rousseau questioned Ward about why she made the video, the mother of 5 replied, “I mean honestly I wasn’t thinking.”

    Wednesday she added, “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.”



    Action News Jax is not naming the location where the incident happened because the office isn’t accused of doing anything wrong.

    They sent a statement Wednesday that read in part: ‘we contacted law enforcement for a full and thorough investigation’.

    Ward is charged with tampering with consumer products without regard for possible death/bodily harm.

    Action News Jax Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson said it’s a very serious felony charge that could put Ward behind bars for 20 years.

    According to Carson, State Attorney Melissa Nelson will decide whether to charge the mom.

    “If she decides not to charge then the matter is simply diverted or it’s transferred to court – meaning moved from a felony to a misdemeanor,” he explained.

    On Wednesday when asked what her message is to those watching the video, Ward said, “I’m sorry for anyone that its offended. It should have never been taken this far.

    Rousseau reached out to the doctor’s office for comment following the arrest, she’s waiting to hear back.

    Action News Jax has also contacted DCF to see if they’ve opened a case regarding Ward.

    The 30-year-old’s court appearance is set for Friday at 9 a.m. 

    Original story below:

    A video that has gone viral shows a young girl licking a tongue depressor at a Jacksonville doctor’s office and putting it back in the jar with the others.

    A sign posted above the jar reads "PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH MEDICAL SUPPLIES! THANK YOU!"

    Action News Jax’s Beth Rousseau spoke the woman who recorded the video, the girl's mother, Cori Ward.

    When asked what was going through her mind when she took the video, Ward replied, “I mean honestly, I wasn’t thinking.”

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    According to Ward, she shared the video on her personal Snapchat with a few of her friends.

    It has since been posted to Facebook by someone else.

    Ward said the video doesn’t show what happened after the camera stopped rolling.

    She claimed, “I removed the items that were even surrounding it.”

    The mother of five said she’s receiving death threats from people who believe she’s participating in social media’s "licking challenge" and she said she knew nothing about the trend.

    “It’s horrible. I mean, I’m scared for my kids, especially, my oldest that’s out and on her own since they posted her photo,” she said.

    Ward said she notified doctors at the office where this happened.

    Action News Jax is not disclosing the name of the location, because staffers are not accused of doing anything wrong. 

    Staff at the office said they’re taking the necessary steps to make sure their patients are safe.

    Dr. Sunil Joshi, an allergist and immunologist not associated with the office shown in the video told Action News Jax the actions could have serious health consequences.

    Dr. Joshi explained, “This is how viral infection spreads, right, through respiratory droplets – and here you’re putting saliva on a tongue depressors that you’re putting straight into someone’s mouth.”

    Ward apologized and said she never should have taken the video.

    She said, “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.”

    Action News Jax hesitated to bring more attention to the "licking" trend, but it was agreed that this case crossed the line and we felt compelled to let the community know about this incident because a local doctor told us about the potential health risks, which were reported in this story.

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