Police are looking for the man who took Celia Medina's 14-karat gold ring while she was resting in her room at the hospital at 281 First Ave. about 8:30 a.m. on March 2.
The man yanked the ring from her index finger so quickly that she was left with a cut on her finger, Medina told DNAinfo New York.
"Stop it," she told the man. "It hurts!"
Medina, a Lower East Side resident who has bronchitis and asthma, said in Spanish that the man arrived in her room as she waited in her hospital bed for exam results with a family member alongside her.
Without introducing himself, the man sat down in a chair and started reading, Medina said.
After the family member left, the man approached and began forcing the ring off her finger. Medina said she tried to hold onto the ring, which she had bought from a longtime friend in 1974. It was engraved with a "C" for her first initial, she said.
The man fled with the ring and Medina immediately called a nurse for help, she said.
The suspect had entered the hospital through the emergency room and had begun registering as a patient before the theft, said Elizabeth Dowling, a spokeswoman for Beth Israel.
“Immediately upon learning of this incident, Mount Sinai Beth Israel security officers contacted the NYPD," Dowling said. "The hospital is cooperating fully in their investigation with the common goal of having the suspect apprehended.”
Police released surveillance photos of the suspect on Tuesday.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.