57-year-old Lynne Spalding was admitted to San Fransisco General Hospital on September 19. She was admitted to the hospital for a bladder infection and appeared to be confused. With patients who appear confused or delirious, it is common practice to either have the patient monitored by staff members or have a bed alarm that alerts staff if the patient has fallen or left their bed. At 10:25 a.m. on September 21, the staff at SF General told police that Spalding was missing from her bed. The staff member incorrectly described the patient to police, stating that Spalding, who is white, was a black female. Spalding’s daughter also spoke with police and stated that he thought her mother’s bed was equipped with an alarm, and that the fact that no one saw her leave the area is strange because the nurse’s station was near by. Even more strange, 10 hours after she was reported missing, a police officer told a colleague in a phone call that “the person was going to be discharged anyway and she decided to take off, and then her daughter made a stink about it, that’s all that was.” But Lynne was still missing.
Finally, on October 1, police began searching the hospital for the woman. They planned to do a second search the following day, but it was cancelled. On October 4, a man discovered a woman lying in the stairwell and reported it to a nurse. The nurse apparently alerted police, but no one conducted a search. On October 8, a building engineer was doing a routine check of stairwells in the hospital and found Lynne’s body. Now, Lynne’s children have filed a wrongful death claim against San Fransisco. San Fransisco owns and operates the medical facility. Since the action names a governmental body as a defendant, the wrongful death claim is a precursor for the wrongful death lawsuit.
According to the claim, which was filed earlier this week, “describes a calamitous array of errors by the hospital and the San Fransisco sheriff’s department.” The sheriff’s department is responsible for providing security services to the hospital. There are numerous claims made against the hospital and police department, including the staff’s failure to follow the orders to have Lynne monitored at all times and failure on behalf of the sheriff’s department to conduct a thorough search for the missing patient. The claim goes further to state that San Fransisco “violated an elder abuse law intended to protect adults admitted to hospitals, was reckless and neglectful, and maintained a dangerous property.” The claim seeks damages for the family’s pain and suffering, loss of affection and attorneys fees and costs.
According to the hospital, they have increased security measures since the missing patient incident. When dealing with the untimely death of a loved one, speaking with an experienced South Carolina injury lawyer will hopefully help to ease your mind a bit. Following your free consultation, should the wrongful death attorney find that your case has merit, work will begin immediately on your case so that you may receive the compensation and justice that is deserved for your injury or loss. The wrongful death lawyers will also fully investigate the incident, visit the scene of the incident and interview witnesses for your case.
If you or someone you know would like to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you will need to speak with a good wrongful death lawyer in your area. Call one of the experienced Myrtle Beach injury lawyers at The Mace Firm for South Carolina legal services. One of The Mace Firm’s South Carolina injury lawyers is ready to speak with you about your case.