Legal action over Lynne Spalding US stairwell death

Lynne Spalding Lynne Spalding was being treated for a bladder infection

Related Stories

The family of a British woman found dead in the stairwell of a US hospital, have begun legal action for damages.

Lynne Spalding, from Haswell, County Durham, was found not far from her bed at San Francisco General Hospital last October, 17 days after going missing.

Lawyers for her two US-born children have filed a legal claim against the city seeking unspecified damages.

The claim alleges negligence on the part of the hospital and the city's Sheriff's Department.

Ms Spalding, 57, who moved to San Francisco several years ago and worked in the city's tourism and hospitality industry, was being treated for a bladder infection at the hospital.

Safety standards

Following her disappearance on 21 September, the hospital was searched and police opened a missing person investigation.

But it is now known Sheriff Department deputies failed to look in all the stairwells.

It later emerged the department had 30% fewer staff than usual.

This prompted an investigation in November by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which monitors health and safety standards at hospitals in the US.

The hospital has now implemented a number of improvements, including new patient tracking systems, daily security checks of emergency stairwells and improvements in the treatment of at-risk patients.

The family's lawyer, Haig Harris, said he expected the claim to be decided in court.

The San Francisco City Attorney's Office said it was "too early" to comment on the family's claim.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Tyne & Wear

Weather

Newcastle upon Tyne

8 °C 7 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    09:51: Body found on Haymarket roof near M&S

    A man's body has been found on a roof near the back of Marks & Spencer at Haymarket in Newcastle city centre.

    It was discovered just after 03:45 today and police, ambulance and fire crews attended.

    Northumbria Police say there was no third-party involvement. A report will be prepared for the coroner.

     
  2.  
    09:43: Chloe Beaney back to school after heart transplant

    Watch as Chloe Beaney went back to school for the first time since having her heart transplant.

    Chloe Beaney

    She had been top of the transplant list at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital and a heart donor was found following a wide appeal. She had the successful operation in November.

    The 15-year-old was applauded by her classmates when she arrived back at school.

     
  3.  
    09:33: Cisse spitting row hits back pages BBC Sport

    Plenty of fun has been had by headline writers thanks to phlegm-gate, involving Manchester United's Jonny Evans and Newcastle's Papiss Cisse, BBC Sport says.

    Metro pack page

    "Spat's A Rap" says the Metro as Cisse faces up to the possibility of a seven-game ban after accepting an FA charge of spitting.

     
  4.  
    09:20: In the news today
  5.  
    09:09: Prison drugs 'a horror story'

    A former inmate of HMP Northumberland has told the BBC that drugs and alcohol are easy to find in the prison.

    HMP Northumberland

    Speaking under the condition of anonymity, the former prisoner said problems are rife at the jail near Morpeth.

    Sodexo, the company that runs HMP Northumberland, admitted there are difficulties but insisted issues are being tackled.

     
  6.  
    08:59: News on the hour

    The top local headlines at 09:00 are:

    • BBC Tees: The boss of Teesside's new Waste to Energy plant has told BBC Tees he's mystified over the decision of workers to hold protests over pay.
    • BBC Newcastle: Analysis suggests immigration has led to a big increase in England's population - including 60,000 EU migrants in the North East and Cumbria.
     
  7.  
    08:50: UKIP candidate quits in military service row Sunderland Echo
  8.  
    08:39: The online-only banking revolution

    How often do you pop into your bank in person these days?

    Piggy banks being made in China

    More and more of us are completing transaction on the internet - and more and more companies are trying to win a share of the online market, as BBC Business reports.

    Among them is Atom Bank, which is poised to launch later this year with its headquarters in Durham.

     
  9.  
    08:21: Tyneside homes plan backed

    An independent planning inspector has effectively backed the building of 30,000 homes around Newcastle and Gateshead, BBC Newcastle reports.

    Bricklayer at work

    Campaigners have fought against some houses being built on green belt land.

    The planning inspector suggested some modifications to the plan, but has supported the idea of altering the boundaries to allow the homes to be developed.

    Newcastle and Gateshead councils will discuss the next stage at their full council meetings later this month.

     
  10.  
    08:12: Today's forecast

    It will be rather cloudy across the North East today with some bright spells, the best of these in the east.

    Weather forecast

    Staying mostly dry, some drizzle is possible over the Pennines.

    It will turn increasingly windy through the day with gusts reaching gale force over hills.

     
  11.  
    08:05: On the roads Gilly Hope BBC Newcastle

    There's congestion on the A181 at Cassop, Durham, with queuing in both directions at Silent Bank.

    Across the region there are no reports of serious delays or accidents, which will be good news if you're on your way to work.

     
  12.  
    08:00: Good morning Simon Armstrong BBC News

    Welcome to BBC Local Live. I'll be bringing you news, sport, weather and travel updates from across the North East.

    If you'd like us to feature your comments or pictures, send them to us by email, tweet us @BBCNewsNE or join our Facebook page.

     

Features

  • Replica of a cargo boxSpecial delivery

    The man who posted himself to the other side of the world


  • Cartoon of women chatting on the metroChat wagon

    The interesting things you hear in a women-only carriage


  • Target practice for Lithuanian troopsBaltic shiver

    Europe editor Katya Adler on the alarm at Russian muscle-flexing


  • Ruben ReuterRuben returns Watch

    Child TV star with Down's syndrome on life away from home


Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.