National News

Dec 13, 2013 8:27 PM by AP

Alcoholism connected to hospital stairway death

The medical examiner's office says a woman found dead in a locked stairwell 17 days after going missing from her room at San Francisco General Hospital probably died of a chemical imbalance due to complications from chronic alcohol abuse.

San Francisco Assistant Medical Examiner Ellen Moffat said in a report released Friday that 57-year-old Lynne Spalding had been dead for days before she was found on Oct. 8.

The medical examiner's office says Spalding was confused and delirious on Sept. 21, the day she disappeared.

Moffat notes Spalding didn't know the day or time or even why she was in the hospital.

Several employees with the city sheriff's department, which provides hospital security, were reassigned after the sheriff acknowledged that a thorough search was never conducted for Spalding.

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