The family of Lynne Spalding, the woman who tragically died while under the care of SF General and remained missing for 17 days due to the flubs of both the hospital and the Sheriff's Department, has settled out of court with the city for $3 million, as the Chron reports.
The Examiner quotes both Spalding's brother and her former boyfriend as saying the settlement amount is insufficient. And they point to the city's recent settlement in the tragic death of Christine Svanemyr , who was run over by a Rec & Parks vehicle while sitting in a park with her infant. The city is paying out $15 million in that case.
The Board of Supervisors will still need to approve the payment, probably in January.
Spalding went missing from her hospital room on September 21, 2013, and despite searches by sheriff's deputies responsible for guarding the hospital, and by hospital staff, it was over two weeks before Spalding was found dead of dehydration and liver complications in a stairwell. An earlier report by the state medical examiner, released in February, placed equal blame on both the Sheriff's Department and the hospital for Spalding's disappearance and the subsequent, incompetent searching that allowed her to remain missing, ultimately leading to her death.
Spalding, aged 58, had been admitted to the hospital with a bladder infection, and infection-related delirium, and was therefore hooked up to a bed monitor and required 24-hour supervision because she had a habit of leaving bed and wandering. When nurses then lost track of her, subsequent searches led staff to believe Spalding had left the hospital somehow, despite her family's insistence that they could not find her. Hospital staff admitted to stepping over her body in the stairwell, and one doctor reportedly told a nurse he'd seen a woman slumped in this stairwell during the time when Spalding was missing, however no one followed up on this. She was then found on October 8, and a subsequent media firestorm erupted around the story, for obvious reasons.
The settlement the family is receiving will come largely from the city, however the University of California was also named in the suit, and will pay $59,000 of the settlement. UCSF medical staff were responsible for Spalding's care, and were therefore named.