British citizen and longtime San Franciscio resident Lynne Spalding, 57, was being treated in San Francisco General Hospital for an infection when she went missing from her hospital bed 17 days ago. Her body has now been found in a stairway which is used as a fire escape, inside the hospital during a routine, quarterly check.
Spalding was last seen two days before her disappearance, and AP reports her friends say she was "was very thin and frail, was on medication and probably very confused." A missing persons report was filed, and police had been investigating her disappearance. The sheriff's department claimed they did search the hospital.
A family spokesperson, David Perry, told Reuters:
"It certainly boggles the mind that while we were searching, Lynne was either dead or dying inside the hospital. There is something systemically wrong with how this was handled."
Todd May, the hospital's chief medical officer, says the incident has shaken the hospital staff "to our core", adding that they didn't know how she ended up in the stairwell as it was locked from the outside and apparently equipped with an alarm.
Cate Sevilla is the UK managing editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.