By Kurtis Ming

It’s happened again. Another patient says Kaiser lost her teeth.

When the hospital wouldn’t reimburse her, she called Kurtis.

Yes, we first told you about this with another patient this summer.

In both cases, they say the hospital promised to pay but once going home, it was a different story.

“I like steak, pork chops…. crab and lobster,” said Georgia Washington, a Roseville resident.

But Georgia went more than three months unable to eat or speak normally.

She says Kaiser assured her that her teeth would be fine but lost them after surgery.

“The anesthesiologist will take your teeth out, put you to sleep, put your teeth back in before you go to recovery.” Georgia said she was told.

She woke up… the bottom denture was gone.

She says Kaiser initially agreed to pay to replace them but later refused, pointing to a waiver she signed releasing the hospital of any liability for her personal belongings.

“I can’t even sing. I’m a Christian. I like to get up and sing sometimes,” she said, laughing. “I can’t do that.”

She may be laughing now but doesn’t have the money to pay for new teeth.

“I was really mad because now I have to walk around public with no teeth,” said Dudley Cornett, another Kaiser patient.

Dudley told us in July how Kaiser agreed to replace his denture they lost, but then backpeddled, saying they’d only reimburse up to $1,000, citing a decades-old state law limiting what they have to pay.

“The law is not a friend of the consumer in this arena,” said Eric Ratinoff, a consumer attorney with KCR Legal.

Despite state laws limiting what a hospital has to pay or waivers they make you sign, Ratinoff says once Kaiser agrees to cover something they lost, they should pay.

“Kaiser took themselves out of their own agreement, and what they had was a separate agreement,” said Ratinoff.

After we got involved, Kaiser forked over the money up front to cover the deductible for Dudley’s denture and paid for Georgia’s, which cost $2,150.

“Ooh… elated, I was so happy, I didn’t know what to do,” said Georgia.

The only drawback for her was the 10 pounds she’s regained from eating again.

“Whoa! All the taste buds said thank you!” said Georgia.

Even though we’ve had two recent cases of lost dentures, Kaiser tells us they can’t comment, citing privacy issues.

But Kaiser says if you do lose something and there was negligence or wrongdoing involved on their part, they’ll reimburse you.

Attorney Ratinoff says if the hospital promises to pay for your lost items, try to get that in writing before you go home.

While that’s ideal, it may not always be possible.

Kaiser Permanente Statement

We are pleased that this situation was resolved to the patient’s satisfaction. Because of patient privacy laws, however, we cannot discuss the specifics of individual cases.

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping our patients safeguard their valuable possessions during their stay in the hospital.

Our facilities have policies and procedures in place for the safekeeping of patients’ valuables and belongings, which include the collection and inventory of personal items that patients choose to keep with them, and the opportunity to store valuables in the hospital safe.

Dentures are a separate inventoried item when a patient is admitted, to help keep track and account for these items.

Patients are provided with a separate, specific container in which to store their dentures while in the hospital to help avoid the common problem of placing them in a napkin or receptacle that is then thrown away or lost.

We encourage patients to report any lost item.

If it is determined that the cause was negligence or wrongdoing by the hospital or its staff, our personal-property policy includes procedures to determine replacement value.

Chyresse Hill,
Regional Media Relations Specialist