Lynne Spalding: Cause of Death Revealed

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Facing criticism from the family of Lynne Spalding, the 57 year-old woman whose body was found in a stairwell at SF General Hospital, the city medical examiner released its preliminary cause of death today -- although only a few people got to see it.

According to local news station KTVU, Spalding died of "probable electrolyte imbalance with delirium (Clinical Sepsis) while in stairwell. Due to complications of ethanolism (Clinical history)." She disappeared from her hospital room two days after receiving surgery for a urinary tract infection, and was found dead three weeks later.

A spokesman from the examiner's office declined to comment, and the Spaldings' attorney, Haig Harris, had not received the medical report by the time it was leaked to media outlets. In interviews, he's publicly chided the examiner for dragging its heels and punting questions about Spalding's death. Other critics say the office is severely backlogged, noting that the National Association of Medical Examiners demoted its accreditation status from "full" to "provisional" earlier this year.

Spalding was thin and frail at the time of her death, but still notably "feisty," according to those who knew her.




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11 comments
Reta Go-Home
Reta Go-Home

Alcoholism may have been her issue but it did not kill her. Neglect did. She was on that stairwell for 2 weeks at least without medical treatment. No food & no water. Dehydration & starvation for sure. Spin it how you need to but ultimately SFGH is still responsible.

Barbara Jones Jr
Barbara Jones Jr

What may have happened is that due to her alcoholism, she may have gone into the D T's after her surgery ( up to 48-78 hours later) gotten delirious and climbed out of bed...many patients at the general go AMA (they scram) but usually they hop the first bus or whatever. Makes sense.

Laura Isaeff
Laura Isaeff

So why was she being released if she was still dehydrated? (clinical explanation?)

Gram Graham
Gram Graham

"hospitable room" is not the term I would use...

Lisa Valentine
Lisa Valentine

well she sure as hell didn't drink in the stairwell for 17 days. This is complete BS. They are trying to cover their butts.

Robert la Bohème
Robert la Bohème

So ... is this saying she was an alcoholic and it contributed to her death? ""Chronic ethanolism" is the same thing as chronic alcoholism. Coroners often use the phrase "chronic ethanolism" on a death certificate when a person has drunk himself to death, probably because it avoids the social baggage attached to saying someone was an alcoholic. "Chronic ethanolism" is the same thing as chronic alcoholism. Coroners often use the phrase "chronic ethanolism" on a death certificate when a person has drunk himself to death, probably because it avoids the social baggage attached to saying someone was an alcoholic."

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