SAN FRANCISCO - A British-born woman who mysteriously disappeared from her San Francisco hospital bed was found dead 17 days later in a stairwell in the same medical centre, after a massive search that saw tour bus operators hand out flyers, officials said on Wednesday.
A San Francisco General Hospital employee found the body of Lynne Spalding, 57, during a routine, quarterly check of the exterior stairway at the facility on Tuesday, San Francisco Assistant Sheriff Paul Miyamoto told reporters.
Miyamoto and hospital officials declined to answer any questions surrounding the death of the longtime San Francisco resident and mother, and they did not release a cause of death for her.
Spalding was admitted to the city-run hospital on Sept. 19 and was last seen in her hospital bed on the morning of Sept.
21, said Todd May, the hospital's chief medical officer.
The sheriff's department claimed to have searched the hospital, while hundreds of friends and relatives handed out leaflets throughout the Bay Area in a vain attempt to find Spalding, said family spokesman David Perry.
"It certainly boggles the mind that while we were searching, Lynne was either dead or dying inside the hospital," Perry told Reuters. "There is something systemically wrong with how this was handled."
Todd May, the hospital's chief medical officer, appeared contrite.