SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A patient who disappeared from her room at San Francisco's main hospital last month was identified Wednesday as the woman found dead this week in an emergency stairwell, horrified authorities said as they continued to investigate how she got there and died.She was found in a friggin' stairwell inside the hospital ground more than two weeks after she was reported missing. The San Francisco police allegedly conducted a search for her. It gets even better - the stairwell is an alarmed fire escape, and there's no indication that there was ever any warning that the alarm functioned. Typically fire escapes sound an alarm if breached - the whole idea being if someone is *using* the fire escape there's a good chance there's a fire.
San Francisco General Hospital Chief Medical Officer Todd May said officials were still awaiting confirmation of the woman's identity from the medical examiner's office. But he said the hospital had enough information to conclude the body discovered in the fourth-floor stairwell belonged to 57-year-old Lynne Spalding.
So, we have a fire alarm that never sounded, a hospital that missed a patient in "fair" condition during a routine check, a sheriff's office that conducted a search but missed the person still on site, and a family that is left grieving and bewildered as to how this could possibly have happened in 2013 in the United States of America. And I have no words for that family, because quite frankly this sort of thing shouldn't happen in a first world country. People shouldn't disappear from a medical facility only to be found, dead, two weeks later, still in that same facility.
It's a bad story for me to hear today for a very simple reason. Dad G. is going into a similarly modern hospital in Boston to have his hip replaced. The past few years he's been having more and more pain in his hip, and it's finally gotten to the stage where he needs it replaced. As surgeries go, hip replacements are in the more minor category, slightly more involved than, say, vasectomies but certainly not on the level of open heart surgery (which, oddly enough, Dad G. had in that very same hospital some 14 years prior. Right as we were moving into the house we're currently moving out of...). So, if you could spare some good thoughts, Dad G. (and I) could use them today...
This is the kind of thing you'd expect to hear happening in Soviet Russia in the 1960s, not modern San Francisco.
That is all.