Woman no longer keeping her mouth shut after dentures go missing after Arizona hospital stay

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Posted at 4:00 AM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-28 17:05:26-05

If you have a complaint about a hospital, it might be over the care you received or how you were billed for the visit, but one Arizona woman says her issue is what she didn't have when she left.

It happened almost two years ago during a stay at John C. Lincoln Medical Center in Phoenix.

Pricilla says she was coming out of the bathroom and the staff was changing her bed linens.

She says she noticed her upper dentures were missing.

Pricilla says the staff remembered she had both uppers and lowers in while they were taking her vital signs.

She says they searched the whole room and believed the dentures were caught up in the linens.

"I said, 'can I please go through the linens myself?'" she says.

But Pricilla says that wasn't allowed.

"I didn't leave my room the five days I was there. There is no place else they could have gone. Now I was expected to go out in the world to friends who have never seen me without my dentures."

So, she left the hospital without her upper dentures.

Pricilla says she was embarrassed but even more importantly, she couldn't eat properly without them. She says she couldn't chew with just her lower dentures.

Pricilla says HonorHealth, which runs John C. Lincoln, did give her some reimbursement, but it wasn't enough.

"I didn't even cash the $500 check because that wouldn't even cover the exam," she says.

Pricilla says when HonorHealth wouldn't budge, she paid nearly $1,500 to replace her upper dentures so she could eat.

But her dentist said she also needs new lower dentures now to fit properly.

With the new uppers, new lowers and adjustments, the estimate was more than $3,000.

"For over a year they ignored me they would not answer my emails would not answer my phone calls," Pricilla says.

Pricilla let me know and our Let Joe Know/Better Business Bureau volunteer Roxanne got involved.

That was nearly a year ago.

Since then, Roxanne has been going back and forth with HonorHealth.

Finally, the company made Pricilla an offer of $3,361 — but it came with conditions.

The agreement said "confidentiality" was important.

Pricilla could not release "any of the terms" of the agreement.

The agreement says she was forbidden to post "any social media or other disparaging materials relating to care received at HonorHealth John C. Lincoln."

Priscilla, not wanting to keep quiet, refused the offer, even though not being able to use her dentures has taken its toll.

"Blisters in my mouth, sores in my mouth, because you're taking hard food and putting them up against raw skin," she says.

HonorHealth said they wanted ABC15 to agree that "any files reflecting the settlement amount will be shredded by ABC15."

That didn't happen.

We hope HonorHealth will reach a more satisfactory agreement with Pricilla so she can finally get a new pair of dentures.

Read HonorHealth's Full Response to ABC15/Let Joe Know:

"At HonorHealth, we have policies in place to protect patient property during a patient's time with us. Although patients and their loved ones are encouraged to send unnecessary valuables home, we understand there are times that require a patient to keep their personal property or valuables with them. As part of our policy, our nursing team members document patient property in detail upon admission and with each patient transfer. Patients are referred to our Conditions of Admission and Patient Rights statements, which detail our policies surrounding valuables. If an item is lost, it is reported to security and the manager or director of the involved department. If it cannot be located, our patient relations team will work to reach an amicable resolution with the patient that is consistent with the limitations of liability in the Conditions of Admission.

In the case of (Pricilla), we have been working with her to resolve the issue of her lost item appropriately. All policies outlined above were followed during her time with us, and our patient relations and risk management teams have been working to support her since her discharge to find a resolution. The initial amount that was offered to (Pricilla) was consistent with our Conditions of Admission. We increased the amount based on information available to us throughout the process. In November, we reached an agreement with (Pricilla), but she has not returned the signed agreement.

At HonorHealth, our mission is to "improve the health and well-being of those we serve." As part of this imperative, we make every effort to protect our patients, which includes their personal property, to the best of our ability."