SJ woman misplaces dentures at hospital

September 21, 2009 6:47:15 PM PDT
No one ever wants to be sick in a hospital. But if you are, you'll want to make sure to watch your possessions closely.

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When a Cupertino woman lost something very important to her at the hospital, she got caught in a bureaucratic nightmare. There's something you can do to prevent that.

Della Amaral of Cupertino suffers from short-term memory loss and at first wasn't quite sure of her exact age, but she does know this for sure-- she knows what she likes to eat.

"I like fried chicken. That's one of my favorite foods," she said.

Amaral can more easily eat her chicken now that she has her dentures back, but she had to live eight months without them. Amaral's daughter says it started when Good Samaritan hospital in san jose lost her mom's dentures and denied responsibility for doing so.

"I wrote to them and told them that the dentures were missing and they wrote back, said sorry. Too bad," said Amaral's daughter Maureen Christopher.

"Unless we have specific evidence a person brought a belonging into the hospital, it's certainly will not be paid," said Kelsay from Good Samaritan Hospital.

Each patient fills out a belongings list when they go into the hospital. But Amaral and her family admit they neglected to list the dentures on that list.

"Over the intervening months, we conducted an additional investigation. We found a nurse who could say yes, this patient did have dentures," said Kelsay.

The hospital now suspects its staff accidentally threw the dentures out when it was left on the food trey or napkin. Good Samaritan told the family to buy new dentures and the hospital would reimburse them.

But the family said it did not have $5,000 to make the purchase.

"So our dentist contacted them and asked them if he could bill them directly. And they wouldn't do that either. At that point, I called 7 On Your Side," said Christopher.

We promptly called the hospital and it apologized to the family and agreed to purchase the dentures for Amaral.

"We're sorry that we lost your dentures. We're glad that this has been resolved," said Leslie Kelsay from Good Samaritan.

"I'm happy to have them back, but you know what, I would get along without them. But I sure as hell do like them," said Amaral.

Good Samaritan advises all patients to list every belonging with them on the belongings list. It also advises against bringing anything valuable to the hospital says as jewelry or expensive electronics.

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