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Family of late Maple Ridge man devastated after wedding ring of 72 years lost at B.C. hospital

Family warns people to take charge of dead loved ones’s things intead of leaving it up to hospitals
Doug and Alma were married for 72 years. (Donna Adams/Special to The News)

A family in Maple Ridge wants people to remember to take charge of any possessions of their loved ones upon their death and not wait for hospital authorities to collect them before transfer to the morgue.

Donna Adams’ father Doug passed away, on Nov. 4 while admitted at the Ridge Meadows Hospital. However, after losing her father, she also lost the last few memories of him in the form of his gold wedding ring band, a housecoat with a little lion and a poppy on it, and a few other small belongings.

“He was moved to a private room where he passed on Nov. 4 and the ring was on his finger, but my brother did not want to remove the ring right after his passing; it just felt wrong to do that. The on-duty nurse assured him it would be removed at the point of transfer to the morgue, tagged and kept safe for us,” she said.

Doug and Alma were married in Cornwall, Ontario in 1949 and moved to B.C. to be closer to family that was already here. At the time of Doug’s passing, the couple was married for 72 years and were living at Chartwell Willow Retirement Community.

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“After 72 years of never removing his wedding ring, Ridge Meadows Hospital has lost it and we just want it back for my mom,” said Adams. “When we asked for the ring it was nowhere to be found, along with a few other possessions. I contacted Fraser Health integrated risk management who have been investigating the situation however the staff at Ridge Meadows Hospital have told them that they said no such thing to my brother.”

Adams said there were witnesses to the conversation.

“This is devastating to the family as anyone can imagine the sentiment of this ring. So now, we are just wanting to bring a warning to the public to remove jewellery from their loved ones before the hospital does,” she said.

When asked about the investigation, a communication representative from Fraser Health, Gurleen Dhessi said the health authority has policies and procedures in place to ensure the protection of patient’s property – including security staff, locked and restricted areas, and closed-circuit cameras where appropriate.

“We know that it is very important for grieving families to receive the precious mementos and artifacts of a loved one when they pass away in one of our facilities. We take it very seriously when something is missing or misplaced, because we know how important those items can be,” said Dhessi.

“We are deeply concerned about these missing items and an investigation is underway, and we will be keeping the family aware of its status.”

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Priyanka Ketkar

About the Author: Priyanka Ketkar

Priyanka Ketkar has been a journalist since 2011 with extensive experience in community-driven news writing, feature writing, and editing.
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