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Hospital Sued After Patient is Found Dead After Being Missing for 17 Days

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A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed after a patient was found dead at the bottom of an emergency stairwell 17 days after she disappeared from her room. The family of the victim filed the lawsuit against San Francisco, which owns the medical facility.

Lynne Spalding, 57, was placed in San Francisco General Hospital on September 19, 2013 and was found dead in a hospital emergency stairwell on October 8, 2013, the LA Times reported. According to the lawsuit, an horrific set of errors, allegedly made by the hospital and the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, which provides security for San Francisco General, was responsible for Spalding’s death. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Spalding’s son and daughter–both adults–and alleges that Spalding had been diagnosed with episodic confusion, a bladder infection, and a blood infection when she was admitted to the hospital, the LA Times reported.

A nurse alleges in the lawsuit that on the day before she disappeared, Spalding thought she was working in an airport and was not aware of her real surroundings. Because of this confusion, a doctor ordered Spalding be monitored constantly. The family alleges that this order was not followed. The lawsuit also alleges that the Sheriff’s Department did not implement an immediate and complete search for Spalding following her disappearance, the LA Times reported. The lawsuit also alleges that the hospital had no coordinated plan in place on how to search for missing patients.

The lawsuit also highlights on serious flaw in the chain of communication, according to the LA Times. On the day Spalding went missing, a nurse allegedly told the Sheriff’s Department that Spalding was African American and wearing a hospital gown; however, Spalding was Caucasian and had reportedly changed into street clothes prior to leaving her room, the LA Times reported.

A man found a woman lying on the stairwell on October 4 and reported his findings to a nurse. The nurse then called the sheriff, but deputies never conducted a search, the lawsuit alleges. A member of the hospital’s engineering staff finally discovered Spalding’s body four days later. San Francisco’s medical examiner ruled that Spalding died from dehydration and complications from alcoholism, the LA Times reported.

The lawsuit alleges that San Francisco violated an elder abuse law created to protect adults admitted to hospitals and that the hospital is guilty of “reckless neglect, breach of duty, medical neglect and maintaining a dangerous property,” the LA Times reported. The exact amount of compensation being sought by Spalding’s children was not specified in the complaint.

breakinglawsuitnews.com disclaimer: This article: Hospital Sued After Patient is Found Dead After Being Missing for 17 Days was posted on Friday, March 7th, 2014 at 8:53 pm at breakinglawsuitnews.com and is filed under Medical Malpractice Lawsuits.

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