Bill Gomes didn’t think he was rolling the dice when he took out his upper-partial at Sherwood Healthcare Center in Sacramento.

He was there last May recovering from surgery. He had a question for the nurses after waking up one morning.

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“What do you mean you threw them out,” Bill said. “Those are my teeth!”

“I was like dad, where’s your teeth” Debi Shank asked.

Debbie is her dad’s caretaker now. She enlisted a nurse to help look for them, but they just couldn’t find Bill’s missing denture.

“And she says oh, that happens all the time,” remembers Debi. “They must have gotten thrown away. I was like really?”

Since then she’s called Bryan Boehrer, Sherwood’s administrator, many times, leaving messages that she says were never returned. And trips to the center didn’t land a meeting as hoped.

She was getting nowhere with them.

“They’ve basically ignored me.”

Finally she did meet with administrator Boehrer. She says he admitted that the staff threw the teeth away but blamed it on Bill.

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“I took my glasses, I took a piece of tissue, I wrapped them up and I said it would be like grabbing this, you would know it’s not a piece of tissue.  There’s something in there. Why would you throw it away?”

She says he told her they were not responsible; she was done dealing with Sherwood.

“My husband’s like ‘call Kurtis.’”

California patients rights laws (H & S Code* §1289.4) make it the responsibility of these care facilities to protect their patients’ personal property. We reminded Sherwood Healthcare Center of that.

They admitted they didn’t want to pay for the loss but told us they would in order to avoid legal fees, and after Debi’s complaint to the state.

But they wanted Debi to settle her Dad’s outstanding bill first.  Debi says Sherwood agreed to deduct the $1,200, and her father has agreed to a payment plan to settle the balance.     

Nevertheless, the experience soured Bill on Sherwood; he wanted to leave right from the beginning.

“I told her at one point hey, McKinley Park’s right down the road.  Find a nice bench there and put a blanket on it and put me there.”

Patients do have rights while in nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities.

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