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Woman Sues Salem Hospital For $51,000 For Lost Rings

BOSTON (CBS) – A grandmother is suing Salem Hospital because they can't find her valuable rings.

70-year-old Susanne Csongor took off the rings when she went in for emergency surgery last July.

The next day she asked for them back, but they were gone.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Laurie Kirby reports.


"The hospital had a policy that you could not have surgery without all jewelry being taken off," her attorney Harold Lichten told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Monday.

WBZ-TV's Diana Perez reports

So when a nurse asked her for the rings she hadn't taken off in 45 years, she handed them over. From her right ring finger: two bonded gold rings with four diamonds, a sapphire and an emerald. From her left: two bands, one with diamonds and sapphires, the other with emeralds and sapphires and her grandmother's, irreplaceable wedding band.

Her fingers still show the indentation of where the rings sat for decades.

"They assured Miss Csongor that they would put the jewelry in safe keeping in a safe," says Lichten. "They took it off her fingers... and the jewelry was never seen again."

But when she woke up all five rings were gone. Stolen or simply lost, "I felt like I had been raped, I was so deeply hurt," says Csongor.

"We conducted an internal investigation. We reported it to the Salem Police. We shared those results of the investigation with the family and we've been attempting to negotiate an appropriate settlement," hospital spokeswoman Jean Graham told WBZ.

But according to Csongor's attorney the amount the hospital offered to settle was $14,000 to $15,000. It's the amount they got from an estimate done at a department store that doesn't carry Csongor's jewelry but instead cleaned it, once.

Lichten said the four rings would currently be worth $51,000. But the hospital claims it's liable for only $20,000 under a cap on liability for nonprofits.

So Csongor and her attorney filed a lawsuit last week in Salem Superior Court.

Csongor says, "It was devastating after going through a major operation and then knowing that you've lost something the you've had for a lifetime with your husband."

While Csongor says she would prefer to settle with the hospital, she also wants to be able to replace the exact set it lost and therefore will take her case all the way to court, if necessary.

WBZ-TV's Diana Perez contributed to this report.

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