The family of Lynne Spalding, a 57 year-old woman who went missing and died during a stay at San Francisco General Hospital, has filed a lawsuit against the City of San Francisco claiming that the city’s negligence caused Spalding’s wrongful death.
Spalding was originally admitted to the hospital on September 19, 2013, for treatment of a bladder infection and disorientation. After examining her, hospital staff found that Spalding was weak and disoriented, and that she was prone to leaving her bed and trying to escape from the hospital.
Spalding was kept at the hospital overnight, and her doctors wrote an order to hospital staff stating: “NEVER leave patient attended.” However, just two days later, on September 21, 2013, Spalding disappeared from her hospital bed.
Spalding was later found dead in a hospital stairwell on October 8, more than two weeks after her disappearance. An autopsy indicated that Spalding died of dehydration, and liver problems related to alcoholism. The report stated that she already had been dead for several days when she was finally discovered.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, March 4, names as defendants the city, the hospital,and the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, which provides security at the hospital. The family is seeking wrongful death damages in excess of $25,000 on numerous claims.
Spalding’s family alleges that the hospital committed numerous failures related to Spalding’s death, including medical malpractice, elder abuse and adult dependency law violations, negligent security by sheriff’s deputies, and dangerous conditions at the hospital. An investigation by California officials has already determined that the hospital and the Sheriff’s Department were at least partially responsible for Spalding’s death.
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