Joint Statement from SFGH and SF Sheriff’s Department

Joint Statement of San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center and San Francisco Sheriff’s Department

Body found at SFGH believed to be missing woman


9 October 2013


Rachael Kagan, SFGH , 415 206-3170,    

Media Hotling: 206-3376                                        

Susan Fahey, SFSD, 415 654-8650        

San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center Spokesperson: Todd May, MD, Chief Medical Officer

SF Sheriff’s Department Spokesperson: Capt. Paul Miyamoto,  

 We are saddened to announce that we believe the body found on the hospital campus yesterday morning is that of Lynne Ford, also known as Lynne Spalding, who has been missing since September 21, when she left her hospital room at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (SFGH). While the medical examiner will make the final determination of identity, we have enough information at this time to conclude it is Ms. Spalding Ford.

 We have informed the family of this news and expressed our deep sympathy for their loss. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Ms. Spalding Ford. Her disappearance has ended tragically and at this time we do not know what happened. We are here to provide patient care and security to more than 100,000 patients each year, and their families. Nothing like this has happened before – this is without precedent.

 We do know that Lynne Ford was admitted to the hospital on September 19 and her condition was improving two days later. She was in fair condition when she left her hospital room shortly after being checked on by a nurse at 10:15am. Fifteen minutes later, the nurse checked on her again, and upon finding her room empty, initiated a search of the hospital. When she was not found, SFGH staff notified the family and sheriff’s department on site. The sheriffs searched the campus, and did not find her. Her body was found in an exterior stairwell yesterday at 10am by an employee. Until then, she had been considered a missing person, and the San Francisco Police Department was investigating her disappearance.

 We do not know how she came to be in the stairwell yesterday, how long she had been there, or what caused her death. The exterior stairwell is a a fire exit that is not routinely used by staff, patients or the public. It is alarmed and locks from the outside; it exits to the hospital grounds at the bottom. Ms. Spalding Ford was discovered there by a member of the engineering staff who was conducting a routine quarterly check.

 The San Francisco Sheriff’s Dept. provides security on the SFGH campus. The San Francisco Police Dept. investigates missing persons and suspicious deaths. The hospital is cooperating fully with both agencies. All of us are committed to learning what happened and to ensuring that it never happens again. We will provide more information as it develops.

On behalf of Sheriff Mirkarimi and the Sheriff’s Department we offer our condolences to the family and friends of Ms. Spalding Ford. The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department is conducting an investigation which includes a review of internal security measures such as alarms and searches. We will not be discussing these measures as they are a part of the hospital’s security structure plan. However, at the conslusion of our investigation we expect to be able to answer many of the questions concerning this tragedy.

Updates will be provided here and on the SFGH Media Hotline (415-206-3376) as soon as they are available.




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