A picture of an elderly person lying on the hospital bed, and a pigeon sitting on him has been going viral on social media. The image is being shared with a post that says that a nurse took this photo and said that the patient’s family didn’t visit him since three days and a pigeon, whom he used to feed, came to see him.
However, the viral image that dates back to 2013 was taken by Ioannis Protonotarios, who confirmed to The Quint that the story shared along with the photo was not true.
The viral message claims that the “elderly patient abandoned his family, and a pigeon came to see him in the hospital”.
Several social media users shared the image on their profiles and groups. The photo was posted over 1,400 times on Facebook in the last week and has garnered several thousand likes and shares. While some shared the same message, others altered the words and invited people to reflect on the thought in the message.
The image with the same message was also shared on Twitter and Instagram.
Incidentally, a few regional news agencies, too, posted the photo on their website. A Hindi newspaper, Nai Dunia, published one such story. The story titled, “Raipur News: अपनों ने नहीं किया याद, कबूतर मिलने पहुंचा अस्पताल”(Translation: Loved ones didn’t miss him, a pigeon came to see him in hospital), talked about the entire incident in detail.
The Quint received a query on its WhatsApp tipline to verify the claim.
WHAT WE FOUND
A reverse image search showed that the photograph had been used on various websites before. Upon looking further through the search results, we came across a post on an image and video hosting service website called Flickr. The photograph was posted by Ιωάννης Πρωτονοτάριος (Ioannis Protonotarios) on 19 October 2013. According to the post, the image was taken in Greece.
The Quint reached out to Protonotarius to know the story behind the viral photo.
“This photo was taken on 19 October 2013 at the Cardiology Ward of Red Cross Hospital of Athens, Greece. My father was a patient there and he was sharing the room with this man on the photo. As I was sitting next to my father’s bed I noticed this bird that was sitting atop of this man who was asleep. It was sitting there for quite a while so I took a picture.”Ioannis Protonotarios to The Quint
His father had to be moved to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and he didn’t see the man or the bird after that. He only saw the man in the photo briefly, and the patient was asleep the whole time, Protonotarios added.
Evidently, an old image from seven years ago has been shared with a false claim about the pigeon visiting an abandoned patient.