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Safety measures improved where British woman died in US hospital

Posted in: Accidents and Sickness Abroad Medical Negligence 

After a British woman was discovered dead at the bottom of a stairwell in San Francisco General Hospital last October, an investigation has recognised a dramatic improvement in safety measures. Lynne Spalding, from Haswell in County Durham, had been missing for seventeen days before she was found dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs only yards away from her bed.  The hospital was searched and the Police opened a missing person investigation. It was later discovered that Sheriff Department deputies had failed to search in stairways.

Health inspectors, who found great improvements, have now carried out a full investigation into the patient safety, privacy and security of the hospital.  Since the accident, the hospital has implemented patient tracking devices, daily security checks of all emergency stairwells and the treatment of at-risk patients has also seen major improvements. The investigation was launched in November by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, (the body that oversees the standards of US hospitals).

‘We are a safer organisation today’

A statement from the hospital said: “Many of the changes outlined in the Plan of Correction already have been implemented and we can assure Ms Spalding’s family, and all our patients, visitors and staff, that we are a safer organisation today.

Investigators returned to the hospital only last week to re-survey the hospital and its staff.  It found that the hospital was “in compliance with all requirements”.

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