Lynne Spalding, the hospital patient who checked in to San Francisco General Hospital weeks ago with a bladder infection and then disappeared, has been found dead in an exterior stairwell of the hospital.
Friends had searched in vain for Spalding two weeks before an unnamed law enforcement source told CNN.com on Tuesday that he believed the body had been found.
Spalding’s friends had searched for her in alleys and shelters throughout San Francisco, handing out hundreds of fliers in the process. They speculated that she may have gotten loose after becoming heavily medicated, but never sensed she was still at the hospital.
“So we have a lot of questions as her family and friends,” said Spalding family spokesman David Perry. “Did anyone see her leave the room? Did she leave alone? Is there videotape of Lynne leaving the hospital or wandering the halls?”
Lynne Spalding, 57, left behind two adult children, and (as of this post) numerous friends, who want answers.
They had formed the “Find Lynne” Facebook page as a source of well wishes, tips, and updates. Now it is understandably a place of outrage and mourning.
“I honestly believe there should be an investigation into how the hospital areas were not thoroughly checked by the staff,” wrote Facebook follower Sunil Raj. “There should also be a list of recommendations to prevent similar tragedies from happening again. With so much talk about terrorism, one would expect there would be videos at major entry and exit points of the hospital. This is just not good enough for a hospital in a city such as San Francisco. Not impressed and very heart broken.”
“Dumbfounded that they didn’t find her for two weeks?! Where the hell were they looking?!” wrote Liz Kennedy.
Hospital officials and police have marked the Lynne Spalding case as “under investigation.” The hospital did say they were unsure of how the body ended up in a rarely-used staircase.
“We’re distressed,” said SFGH spokeswoman Rachael Kagan. “We don’t know what happened. That’s our top priority, is to find that out.”
According to CNN, Spalding was last seen in the morning of September 21. Nurses were checking on her every 15 minutes, but at 10:30 a.m., she was gone.
At best, this is probably the worst case of medical negligence we’ve seen since a surgeon in January left 16 items inside a patient.
(This one, though, definitely tops it.)
Do you think Lynne Spalding was the victim of major incompetence or foul play?
[Image via Find Lynne Facebook Page]