SF General Hospital Reforms Approved By Feds

By NBC Bay Area Staff and Wire Services
|  Friday, Jan 24, 2014  |  Updated 4:53 PM PDT
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Lynne Spalding is seen in this file photo.

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The San Francisco hospital where a patient was found dead in a stairwell more than two weeks after she went missing from her room says federal regulators have approved its plans to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

San Francisco General Hospital said Friday that inspectors from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services signed off this week on a series of corrective actions the hospital took after 57-year-old Lynne Spalding's death in the locked stairwell.

MORE: Sheriff Sorry for Response in Search for Lynne Spalding

The reforms include equipping stairwell doors with alarms that can only be shut off with a key and arranging for sheriff's deputies who provide security at the hospital to search the stairwells every day.

Two deputies will be stationed on site every day of the week.

There is also a new patient tracking system that the hospital plans to start using next month.

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

MORE: Coroner Ties Hospital Stairway Death to Alcoholism

Spalding was originally in the hospital due to complications of ethanolism, which is another term for chronic alcoholism. A chemical imbalance due to alcoholism led to her death, the coroner determined.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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