Mark McCormick has seen it all.
In his 12 years at Mount Sinai Hospital, the Fire Marshall and Security Manager has been responsible for ensuring the safety of patients and staff members. Just one of the aspects of this important job has been taking care of some of those items that get left behind. Dropped teddy bears, a huge quantity of cell phone chargers and countless umbrellas are some of the more obvious lost and found items that one would expect to see in a hospital lost and found area.
When asked about some of the more uncommon items, Mark thinks for a moment, and says “probably the time we found a herring. We didn’t know if it started out as a dried fish or became dried out as it waited in the lost and found to be reunited with its owner.”
The herring is just one of the over 19,000 lost and found items that have been logged as far back as Mount Sinai has kept a record of these items, starting in approximately 2006.
When items are found, there are a number of policies that dictate what happens if they are not claimed. Some objects are donated to the Sinai Health Foundation, some are destined for the landfill, but Mark also has a good solution for some of the other items. “After the required waiting period, we will offer the unclaimed phone chargers to patients or patients’ families, so they can stay connected if they arrive here unexpectedly. The umbrellas that haven’t been claimed after 30 days are saved for a rainy day, and we pass them out to people leaving the building during a downpour.”
With his experience and knowledge of Mount Sinai’s lost and found, Mark was recently asked to participate in an art project led by Sarah Amato, the Artist-in-Residence at the Faculty of Community Services and the Faculty of Arts at Ryerson University. Amato’s project, Is This Yours? draws on stories from interviewees and considers the different ways we can look at all the items that get forgotten and left behind. Click here to learn more about Sarah’s work.
And if you ever forget an umbrella in the food hall or leave a day planner in a boardroom, be sure to visit the main floor security office and see if a good Samaritan has dropped off your lost goods.