Missing patient found dead in hospital stairway


Lynne SpaldingAP

Lynne Spalding

The body of a British woman who went missing in a San Francisco hospital two weeks ago has been discovered on a stairway.

 Lynne Spalding, 57, who was being treated for an infection at the hospital when she disappeared from her room on September 21.

Police, coroner and sheriff's officials were investigating the death at San Francisco General Hospital after a worker found the body in the exterior stairwell that is used as a fire exit, a hospital spokeswoman said.

"It's very concerning," she said. "We're distressed and don't know what happened. It's our top priority to find out."

Ms Spalding was last seen two days after she was admitted to the hospital. Friends said she was very thin and frail, was on medication and probably very confused. A missing persons report was filed with police, who have been investigating her disappearance.

David Perry, who is acting as a spokesman for Ms Spalding's family, has told Sky News that relatives and friends are "horrified, dismayed and frustrated".

"For 17 days Lynne's body was there unfound in the very hospital where she'd gone for treatment," he said.

Mr Perry said officials have a lot of explaining to do as to why Ms Spalding "died alone, in the stairwell, at one of the finest medical institutions" in the US.

"There are a number of questions for San Francisco General Hospital and the San Francisco Sheriff's Department," he told Sky News.

The hospital where Ms Spalding was being treatedGetty

The hospital where Ms Spalding was being treated