CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- A family is reeling after the bizarre theft of a prosthetic leg from a Chula Vista hospital.
Miranda Mahon says her father, Jack Hamlin, has been in and out of Birch Patrick Convalescent Center at Sharp Chula Vista since January. Hamlin had his leg amputated 10 years ago and has been wearing a prosthetic leg ever since. He was learning how to walk on a brand new updated prosthetic leg at Birch Patrick.
“The new leg worked differently than the old one and he was finally learning," Mahon said.
Hamlin says he took the leg off for a nap, and when he awoke, it was gone.
“After lunch (the nurses) said ‘OK, let’s get you up and get your leg on,’" Mahon said. "And no leg to be found.”
At first, they thought it was a joke.
“The staff… were outside looking in the bushes to see if someone played a prank and threw it in the bushes,” Mahon said.
The nurses soon realized that someone had stolen the prosthetic leg.
“Are you joking?" Mahon said. "Because I mean, who takes a leg from an amputee when that’s his only way of getting around.”
“How can you walk out the door with something?" Hamlin said.
The family says Chula Vista police are reviewing security footage. The hospital has launched an internal investigation. Mahon says the prosthetic leg is worth about $26,000.
To make matters worse, without his leg, Hamlin will be unable to attend the graduation ceremony for his two granddaughters from Mar Vista High School Thursday.
“He graduated from the same school we’re graduating from, and it just kind of sucks that he can’t come watch us graduate," Mallory Mahon said. “We worked really hard and I know he wants to come, and it’s kind of just really sad.”
The family says the only way Hamlin would be able to attend the graduation is if they can find a wheelchair-accessible van that will transport him to the ceremony. But they are having a hard time finding a driver who will work past 5 p.m.
Mahon says the hospital told them they will be able to replace the leg once they finish their internal investigation.
10News was unable to reach a hospital spokesperson due to the holiday.