SANTA MONICA (CBSLA) — In 84 years, Abraham Yomtob gave The Most Interesting Man in the World a run for his money.
“He loved music, dancing, exercise,” Lila Yomtoob, his daughter, said.READ MORE: LAPD Chief Michel Moore Admitted To Hospital After 'Not Feeling Well'
That was until he contracted COVID-19 and spent the final weeks of his life in an intensive care unit, isolated and in pain.
“I thought, ‘Gosh, no one’s touched him for so long,'” Yomtoob said. “We’ve also had COVID, we can’t touch each other and, like, now he’s dying.”
When Yomtob died Jan. 15, his daughter said her grief was compounded when his belongings disappeared from his hospital room at Providence St. John’s in Santa Monica. Along with his wallet, his phone and all his contacts were gone.
“His outgoing message wasn’t on the phone anymore, so that tipped us off that the phone was stolen,” Yomtoob said. “I was planning to write the eulogy for my father, and instead I spent the afternoon and the evening cancelling his credit cards and closing accounts and changing passwords.”
She said she has spent the last month in a frustrating back and forth with the hospital. She said the hospital admitted her father’s items were stolen in an email that appeared to indicate her father might not be the only victim.READ MORE: At Least 15 People Killed After SUV, Big-Rig Collide In Imperial County
“There was some confusion related to patients diagnosed with COVID and how their belongings are to be handled,” the email said. “Some thought security was to retrieve them, some thought nursing brings them to security. Unfortunately, your father’s belongings did not make it to security.
“We identified gaps in our process as it relates to COVID-19 patients,” the email continued. “We will meet again next week to finalize our action plans, which include staff education.”
To Yomtoob, that means it has happened to other isolated COVID-19 patients without family there to protect them, which is why she filed a report with the Santa Monica Police Department.
“I just don’t want it to keep happening to people,” she said. “I just don’t want this to happen.”
Santa Monica PD said it was investigating the case.
The hospital sent a statement that said, in part:MORE NEWS: Hollywood Gets Casual: Bill Murray, Jason Sudeikis Among Those Dressed Down For The Golden Globes
“The COVID surge required us to adapt our processes in order to care for the large number of patients. We take all family concerns very seriously and when we learned of the missing items, we investigated this issue and convened a team that reviewed policies, procedures and practices. They identified a gap and fixed it.”