A woman that was found dead in a San Francisco hospital stairwell, died of dehydration and liver failure, likely brought on by alcoholism, according to the medical examiner.
The woman, that went missing from her San Francisco General Hospital room just steps away from a nurse’s station, was found dead by a hospital employee 17 days later.
A combination of dehydration and alcohol, led the delirious woman to wonder outside of her room and go to the stariwell, were she died at an undetermined time.
The woman, identified as Lynne Spalding, 57, was discovered in a rarely used exterior stairwell, on the south side of the San Francisco hospital on October 8, nearly three weeks after she was reported missing.
The Medical Examiner was able to determine the cause of death, however, it couldn’t identify how long she had been there and when she died, only saying she had been deceased for “some days before being found.”
Spalding’s family said she had no pre-existing conditions, however the coroner concluded that the 57-year-old suffered from liver problems, likely caused by alcoholism.
When the body was found in San Francisco General Hospital, it displayed no other signs of physical trauma that would have caused her to lose consciousness, the coroner reports.
Spalding’s official cause of death was ruled “probable electrolyte imbalance with delirium,” and was labeled an “accident.”
Authorities say Spalding’s boyfriend and daughter gave her a ride to San Francisco General on September 19, after she lost a significant amount of weight and was acting disoriented, said David Perry, a family spokesperson.
After tests determined she had a urinary tract infection, she was admitted and placed in a fifth-floor room were she remained for two days before going missing.
A search to locate the missing woman was ordered by San Francisco General hospital authorities and despite claiming that “a thorough search of the hospital” had been completed, Spalding’s body was discovered by an employee during a routine check that only happens four times a year.
Following the tragic death, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced, the city would hire a consultant to conduct a “thorough, independent review” of security systems and protocols at San Francisco General Hospital.