The state is investigating a 54-year-old woman's claim that a hospital lost a 6-inch-long portion of her skull following brain surgery.

Nancy and Robert Cean of Adams, N.Y., filed a $2 million lawsuit last November against the House of the Good Samaritan Hospital in Watertown for allegedly losing the bone segment before it could be reattached.The bone flap was removed from Cean's skull during an operation to relieve the pressure of an aneurysm she suffered, court papers said. The fragment of skull was removed in April 1988 and was scheduled to be replaced two years later, said David Howe, the lawyer for the hospital.

John Cherundolo, lawyer for the Ceans, said the bone was originally stored in the hospital's pathology department, but during renovation it and other body parts were moved to a home that was later cleaned out.