New York hospitals crushed under the weight of the pandemic lost belongings of COVID-19 patients who died, adding to the pain experienced by grieving families.

Larry DeVito in his prized hat.

Relatives, who in some cases spent months trying to track down loved ones’ possessions, say hospital staffers seemed overwhelmed and could not offer proper assistance.

When Janine DeVito’s father, Larry, checked into New York Presbyterian, he was wearing a beloved hat her sister brought back from Italy, where he had spent his childhood. He died less than a month later.

“Not being able to be there, not being able to see him, and then not getting anything back…you feel like you have nothing of him,” DeVito said.