Patient Goes Missing From SF General, Second Incident in Four Months

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    NEWSLETTERS

    San Francisco police are searching for a missing woman who walked out of San Francisco General Hospital Thursday after a surgery and is considered medically at risk. Jean Elle reports.

    San Francisco police are searching for a missing woman who walked out of San Francisco General Hospital Thursday after a surgery and is considered medically at risk.

    Valerie Gates, 34, was being treated at the hospital when she walked out, and is in need of vital post operative medications, according to San Francisco Police Officer Albie Esparza.

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    San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is apologizing for his department's slow and incomplete search for a missing San Francisco woman whose body was found in a stairwell by a hospital engineer on Oct. 8. Cheryl Hurd reports.

    She has a bandage around her neck from a recent surgery, and is described as a black female, 5 feet 3 inches tall and 120 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair, Esparza said.

    Gates was last seen wearing a green jacket and burgundy pants and carrying a black purse.

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    We now know the official cause of death of the British patient found dead in a stairwell at San Francisco General Hospital 17 days after she disappeared from her hospital room. Cheryl Hurd reports.

    She is homeless, and is known to frequent the Tenderloin area of San Francisco, Esparza said.

    Anyone who sees Gates should call police at 415-553-0123 or 911.

    MORE: SF General Hospital Reforms Approved By Feds

    San Francisco General Hospital made headlines last year when a missing patient's body was found at a locked stairwell in the hospital.

    San Francisco's sheriff acknowledged that after 57-year-old Lynne Spalding was reported missing on Sept. 21, 2013, deputies never searched the stairwell where an engineer eventually found her body. Her body was found nearly three weeks later.

    Friday morning, the hospital told NBC Bay Area that they do believe new security procedures are working, despite this latest incident. They say the staff immediately worked with the sheriff's department, launched a vigorous search for the missing patient, and filed a missing person's report, all in line with their strengthened AWOL policies. They also say Gates was in good condition before she chose to leave before her treatment was concluded.