Solving the case of the missing dentures


Time can be a critical factor in treating many serious health concerns. It can also be a critical factor when trying to locate a missing item for a patient. Just ask Pam Lindsay, RN, a charge nurse in the Cardiovascular ICU (CVICU) at Utah Valley Hospital.


Pam Lindsay, RN

Pam recently cared for a patient who’d initially gone to Orem Community Hospital with chest pain. The Orem team realized the patient was having a heart attack and made arrangements to transport him to Utah Valley. But just before leaving Orem, the patient coded and had to be intubated. After he arrived in Utah Valley’s Cath Lab, physicians placed stents in the patient’s heart and sent him to the CVICU to recover.

Soon after being extubated, the patient asked about the location of his dentures. That’s when Pam and her team realized there was a problem.

Pam started her hunt for the missing dentures by calling Orem Community Hospital. She then checked with Utah Valley’s Cath Lab as well as the housekeeper who’d cleaned the lab. All three attempts proved unsuccessful. Next Pam called Orem dispatch to see if the dentures were left in the ambulance. She found out the paramedics involved in transporting the patient were out on a brush fire, so she left a message.

Two hours later, the paramedics called to report they’d found the dentures in the ambulance and they said they’d bring them to the hospital on their way back from the brush fire. The patient, who’d been updated frequently throughout the search, was very happy his dentures were found.

“I’m always happy when I can help a patient or a coworker,” says Pam, who’s worked 36 years in the ICUs at Utah Valley. “The patient was very concerned about the dentures, and it was a relief to him that they were found quickly so he didn’t have to worry about them as he was trying to recover from a heart attack.”

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