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Woman says hospital lost her late husband's belongings

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Posted at 7:44 PM, Dec 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 19:44:37-05

INDIANAPOLIS — The past month has been extremely difficult for Janet Wilson-Harrison.

Her husband, Howard, who was the only living family she had, received care at Franciscan St. Francis Hospital's south campus after falling in their home, but he died Nov. 7. When she asked employees for his belongings, Wilson-Harrison said they could not find them.

"They lost everything," she said. "Several times, I was up there to see him. I asked for his billfold. They said it's locked up it's OK it's safe. I said all right. They said no one is here now with the keys they can get it for you."

Wilson-Harrison said she has been in contact with the hospital staff, but over and over, they said they still cannot find Howard's belongings.

"Chase Bank froze my bank account because Howard and I were on the same account," Wilson-Harrison said. "I can't get that straightened out until I get a death certificate. I can't get a death certificate because he hasn't been cremated yet. He still at the mortuary. I can't do anything until I get this straight now. I've been without anything."

When asked about what happened and what protocol is in place to keep items like a wallet safe when patients arrive, a Franciscan Health spokesman said, "Because of privacy laws, we cannot discuss the details of this case. The hospital is unable to accept responsibility for patients' personal belongings during their stay. We recommend that valuables be left at home for safekeeping."

"They said they've never lost anything like this before. You put your trust in a hospital or your loved one and then something like this happens. And they'll lose everything?" Wilson-Harrison said.

She is still holding out hope that hospital employees will eventually find Howard's belongings. Until then, Wilson-Harrison is struggling to figure out what to do next.

"I don’t know what to do," Harrison-Wilson said. "St. Francis keeps giving me excuses and excuses and excuses. I’ve talked to several people up there they call and say well what can we do? I said find his stuff. I have to have it.

"It’s like a snowball just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger. It was just us. All my family has passed, all his family has passed. We have no one to turn to no one to help."

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