A woman who disappeared under mysterious circumstances from her San Francisco hospital room was found in the facility’s stairwell 17 days later.
The British born, Lynne Spalding, 57, was found during a routine, quarterly check of an exterior stairway this week, according to San Francisco Assistant Sherriff, Paul Miyamoto, according to Reuters. Spalding was missing for 17 days while a massive search was conducted.
Miyamoto and hospital officials would not respond to questions concerning Spalding’s—who was a long-time resident of San Francisco and a mother of two—cause of death and any questions related to her death, according to Reuters. Spalding was admitted September 19 and was last seen in her hospital bed on the morning of September 21, according to Todd May, the hospital’s chief medical officer.
The sheriff’s department indicated that it searched the hospital. and hundreds of Spalding’s friends and family distributed flyers hoping to locate Spalding, according to family spokesman, David Perry. “It certainly boggles the mind that while we were searching, Lynne was either dead or dying inside the hospital,” Perry, a public relations professional, told Reuters. “There is something systemically wrong with how this was handled.”
Todd May, the hospital’s chief medical officer said, “What happened at our hospital is horrible…. This has shaken us to our core. We don’t know what happened to this woman.” He also said that he is “committed to getting to the root cause of this tragedy,” according to Reuters.
“I’m really angry,” Perry said after the news conference, where he was in attendance. “I’m here because I wanted to hear answers. I don’t know how Lynne Spalding’s body got into that stairwell, how Lynne Spalding died, and how Lynne Spalding got from her hospital bed to the stairwell steps away,” Perry told Reuters. According to Perry, his friend went to the hospital after losing weight and was exhibiting signs of disorientation; she was diagnosed with a bladder infection, he believed.
According to hospital officials, Spalding was in fair condition at the time of her disappearance. May said the stairwell in which Spalding was found was locked from the outside and is equipped with an alarm. Reuters wrote that it remains unclear how far away the stairway was from Spalding’s bed. Spalding is survived by her 19-year-old son and 23-year-old daughter, Perry told Reuters.
At a prior news conference at the hospital, officials stated that they were “fairly certain” that the discovered body was that off Spalding; however, they were not able to confirm the identity of the body they found in the stairwell, according to NBC Bay Area News.
Hospital authorities did not say how a patient could be missing for more than two weeks to be found in a hospital stairwell, dead, NBC Bay Area News reported. A nurse discovered Spalding missing from her room and advised the appropriate authorities more than two weeks ago. That led to a hospital search by San Francisco sheriff’s deputies.
“Lynne Spalding died alone in a stairwell and her body had been there for 17 days,” said Perry. Perry also noted that it took the hospital 10 days for the hospital to issue a statement about Spalding having been missing. “This is a nightmare,” Perry said. “Steps must be taken to make sure this never happens again,” he added, noting that Spalding’s boyfriend “is devastated” and her daughter “is beyond words,” NBC Bay Area News reported.