Hospital Employee Stepped Over Body of Missing Patient, Reports Say
The family of a woman who vanished from her San Francisco hospital room and was found dead 17 days later in an emergency stairwell is angered by reports that a hospital employee stepped over her several days before the body attracted the attention of investigators, family representatives said.
Haig Harris, a lawyer representing the children of Lynne Spalding, 57, said he was told that the hospital employee saw a woman lying in the exterior stairwell and reported it to a nurse. The nurse notified the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, which handles security for the city-owned hospital and previously had searched the grounds for Spalding.
But days passed before another hospital employee noticed the woman and got the attention of authorities, Harris said. Even if the hospital employee who stepped over Spalding mistook her for a sleeping homeless person, someone should have checked to make sure she was OK, Harris said.
He questioned why hospital employees didn’t suspect a woman on a fifth floor stairwell might be a patient and whether the Sheriff’s Department even investigated the nurse’s report.
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