The family of a pensioner whose arm was severed in a car crash fear her rings have been STOLEN from the limb after she was rushed to hospital.
Great-grandparents Doris Smith, 65, suffered horrific injuries after her grey hatchback collided with a silver estate on a country road.
She was airlifted to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol where her left arm was amputated.
But by the time it was incinerated less than 24 hours later her three rings – including the wedding ring she had worn for 48 years – had vanished from the left hand.
The incident has been investigated by police, ambulance and hospital staff but no trace of them has been found.
Her son Chris, 43, a builder from Tetbury, Glos., said: ”You’d like to think that nobody would have stolen them with the state my mum was in. I can’t think of anything lower, really.
”I’d hate to think that somebody had taken them. I wouldn’t want to accuse anyone, but obviously they have gone missing.
”It’s not so much the financial value of them – it’s the sentimental value. One of them was my nan’s wedding ring that she gave my mum when she died.”
The accident happened as Doris and with husband Jim, 73, drove home to Poulton, Glos., from a friend’s farm in nearby Bibury on the afternoon of November 25th last year.
Medics believe her arm was severed at the shoulder when the seatbelt acted like ‘cheesewire’.
She also broke her right pelvis and had an injury in her right leg that needed 40 stitches.
Doris was in intensive care for a week before moving to a recovery ward and eventually being transferred to Great Western Hospital in Swindon, where she later suffered two major strokes.
Her family say she would definitely have been wearing the rings – her wedding and engagement bands and her mother’s wedding ring – at the time of the smash.
A few days after the accident hospital staff offered to return the clothing Doris was wearing to her family – but made no mention of the rings.
Chris said: ”When mum stabilised in intensive care they gave us back all of her clothing back that they had to cut off her.
”We said we didn’t want it, but obviously we just wanted the rings back from her arm.
”We’ve checked with the police, all the ambulance crew and the hospital – but nothing.
”She wore those rings every single day and she definitely had them on during the accident.
”My mum never took them off – they were nice and tight. They would definitely not just have fallen off.”
Hospital staff told the family that the arm was incinerated within 24 hours of the accident but there had been no trace of the three rings.
Chris even visited the garage where the car had been towed and scoured the wreckage himself – but found no sign of them.
Staff at Frenchay Hospital are adamant the rings were not on the hand when the arm was incinerated.
Director of nursing Marie-Noelle Orzel (corr) also said there was no record of jewellery being removed from Mrs Smith when she was admitted.
She said that an investigation had been launched and closed without resolving the mystery.
She said: ”This is a very unfortunate set of circumstances following an extremely distressing time for Mrs Smith and her family.
”The amputated arm was checked before it was disposed of and nothing was found.”
Doris’ husband Jim, a retired stud groom who worked for the jockey Willie Carson, suffered a broken bone in his back, serious bruising to his ribs, a haematoma round his neck and serious damage to his knees in the smash.
After a week in the Great Western Hospital he was released, and is currently visiting Doris every day in Cheltenham.