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.

More from Laurie Kirby
  • laura sinko


    • Matt

      Did you bang your head in this accident?

      • gramps

        I think it might be a ‘MCAS’ thingy….

  • Anne

    I find it offensive that this woman is comparing lost/stolen jewelry to being raped.

  • Denise

    Unfortunately she’ll never be able to truely replace the items. However, someone as a representative of the hospital took her items – assured her they would be kept safe and returned to her – did not hand them over to a family member when they arrived – so therefore should be responsible for replacing them no matter what the cost! I have no sympathy for the hospital. They have low life employees just like everyplace else! This isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last that jewelry is stolen off the finger of someone at a hospital or a nursing home. Sad but true! But pay up now! Your employee/representative took it – admitted to taking it – so pay up! You don’t let us negotiate a bill that you send that we either never get or it gets thrown away and then let us say well we can only afford to pay X amount of dollars because thats all that is in my checking account! You want what the overly inflated bill is worth – well she wants what her jewelry is worth!!! Fair is fair!

  • Sara

    Most people know that when headed in for surgery to leave their valuables at home (something they were assuredly told in pre-op). I do not feel the hospital is responsible at all. If they were so valuable (both monetarily and sentimentally) she should have had a proper appraisal done on them beforehand and then her insurance company could replace them…hence the purpose of insurance. She didn’t…her loss!
    The main concern of doctors and nurses is a patients care and health…not their jewelry, purses etc.

    • Vera Carroll


    • mamom

      Agree with other posters…if you are going to post something, read the entire article. Woman had emergency surgery which means she didn’t plan on going to the hospital and therefore couldn’t think ahead to taking off her rings…hospitals are responsible when they take possession of such items as the nurse/aid did. Next time, read completely before posting.

    • Emily

      Did you not read the article?? It said she went in for EMERGENCY surgery. Do you know what that means? It means her life was in danger and the last thing she was thinking about was leaving her jewelry safely at home as she was rushed to the hospital.

    • Orenthal

      You’re not very smart, are you?

      • RT

        Now who’s looking like they aren’t too smart? Payback is a beeyotch, isn’t it?

  • tsal

    My MIL was rushed to the hospital several years ago. She was unresponsive and the last thing we thought about was what jewelry she was wearing. By the time we did think about it, the rings and necklace were gone. All very special – including a diamond that was her recently deceased husband’s 3 times great grandmother’s. My MIL never recovered enough to know it was gone but the jewelry was something that should have been passed down to her children/grand/great. It either went in the ambulance or the ER – disgusting.

    • gramps

      & it continues…..

  • susieqsis

    I can’t believe she didn’t turn her jewelry over to family! This isn’t the first time and won’t be the last. Why on earth would you wear 4 rings worth all that money to a hospital! Emerald and sapphire, diamonds and sapphires, and an heirloom?! What a hell of a temptation for someone. I bet you’ll be in court for years. And I agree with Anne. That’s a pretty offensive remark about being raped.

    • Frank

      If I was a crook, working in a hospital would be a great place for me to get stuff.

    • Orenthal

      Good job blaming the victim.

  • web

    Can’t they at a minimum find out who the nursing staff was at the time and try to work from there…where the nurse put it, etc? What exactly was the result of their internal investigation? They must have a standard operating procedure of what to do with valuables.

  • Denise

    What the ____ are you talking about Orenthal! What century are you living in? Do you work at the hospital and have first hand insight into the color/ethnic background of all that work there? Careful who you point fingers at because when you do there are 4 pointing back at you! And honestly I know more Non-Colored trash than of ANY “color”. Wow – I didn’t think people like you existed still! LOL.

  • Frank

    How long have you been a member of the Klan?

  • Frank

    I love hearing a member of the Klan speak. Doesn’t everybody???

  • Cyndi

    This is a common occurence with those who are in hospitals or Nursing homes. As far as comparing it to rape? This is a older woman who has had these beautiful rings most years of her life. It is a violation of her possesions, and quite expensive ones not to mention the sentimental value.
    As a member of the medical profession, I know how common this is. My own Mother had her rings taken w/she was in a Nursing home. The good thing was I noticed it later that day,. Questioning “where” or what happened. Funny but true, a nusre on duty opened the narcotics drawer and handed them to me! Have some compassion. The liberals are those who have never been victim

  • Laura

    We had a similar experience one year ago this week at Salem Hospital, when my uncle, who was admitted in an emergency situation, sadly passed away after a couple of weeks in ICU. When we asked for his wedding ring, because he wanted to be buried with it, they could not locate it. We pursued it for awhile, but then let it go. There didn’t seem to be any answer or resolution to the situation. Sad that people are preying on those so vulnerable.

  • shera

    this happens VERY OFTEN!
    I’ve heard numerous stories like this.

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