Monday, April 5, 2010
Help Me Howard: Hospital Ring
It can be frightening to take a loved one to the hospital. At that moment, many of us are not thinking clearly. One man wasn't as his sick mother was taken to the hospital. A few days later she died, but not before a ring she had worn for nearly 70 years disappeared. Who is responsible? Let's bring in Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- At a time when some people want to blame their parents for all their problems, Lou Razzano is different.
Lou Razzano: "Wonderful parents. They were the best parents I could have ever had, and I really, really mean that."
Dominick and Katherine lived long, happy lives. Then, he passed away three years ago, and a few weeks ago, Lou came home to find his mother struggling.
Lou Razzano: "I called 911, because I knew something was radically wrong."
Katherine was rushed to the hospital. When she got there, the 92-year-old had two rings on, one a big emerald.
Lou Razzano: "That I knew, I better take off her finger. That's like a neon sign saying, 'Steal me.'"
But Lou didn't take off his mother's small wedding ring that her husband had given to her 69 years ago.
Lou Razzano: "My dad gave it to her when they were married, Aug. 31, 1941. Stayed on her hand all that time."
Stayed there; then, Lou walked into her hospital room one morning.
Lou Razzano: "The first thing I noticed when I started to feed her, I said, 'Where is the ring? The ring is missing.'"
The ring was gone. Then a few hours later, Katherine started to pass away.
Lou Razzano: "I said it to her as she was dying, I said, 'You really are the best mom in the whole world, and Dad was the best dad in the whole world.' And she looked at me and there was a look of recognition in her eyes, and then, within minutes, she passed."
Lou was devastated. Then, he realized his mother would be buried without the wedding ring she had worn for decades.
Lou Razzano: "Then, I started getting angry. I said, 'How the hell could they take a ring off of somebody's finger that is in that condition?'"
Lou demanded the hospital find out who would steal a dying woman's wedding ring. A few days later, a hospital administrator called Lou.
Lou Razzano: "I conducted a thorough investigation, and unfortunately, nothing has turned up, and I am sorry, but there is nothing more we can do for you."
Lou shares part of the blame for not taking his mother's wedding ring off, but he wonders if the hospital also shares the blame for the theft.
Lou Razzano: "And I know that what I signed said they are not responsible for loss of small valuable items and jewelry, but does that cover and I'd like to ask Howard, does that cover theft?"
Well, Howard we will all have to put loved ones in the hospital one day, so we all need to know the answer.
Howard Finkelstein: "It's terrible what Lou has gone through, losing his mother and her cherished ring. However, most hospitals make you sign a form that they are not responsible for your jewelry. The only time they could be responsible is if it's stolen by an employee that has a history of stealing."
When we contacted Hialeah Hospital, they sent this statement that said, "We continue to investigate, but at this time, we have not been able to locate the belongings in question. Our deepest sympathies are with the family as they grieve during this difficult time."
I then asked if they interviewed the employees on duty at the time of the theft and demanded polygraphs. They replied, 'Pease use the media statement previously provided.'"
Lou Razzano: "What I really want to emphasize: this happened to me. It could have happened to anybody."
Lou will never get over his mother being buried without her beloved ring, but he is convinced his mother is not upset because of the picture he took before her funeral. Some people might call this lens flare; Lou calls it a message.
Lou Razzano: "I believe it's my mom's soul, her spirit, her energy force. Maybe she even wanted me to get a picture of it so she could give me a sign that hey, I am OK. I am out of that body, old body and floating around and looking down on you."
Patrick Fraser: "Interesting. As for the ring, someone knows where it is. Lou says it was small, but to his family, the sentimental value truly is priceless. If you know anything about the ring, give us a call."
Pounding problems sickened you? Care to find a solution? Contact us. We can't cure any ills, but we will try to ring up a solution.
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org (Please include your contact phone number when emailing)
REPORTER: Patrick Fraser at email@example.com