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Attorney: Requested searches for San Francisco hospital patient weren't thorough

  • In this photo taken Tuesday Oct. 8, 2013, the body of Lynne Spalding, which was found in a stairwell at San Francisco General Hospital, is removed by the medical examiner in San Francisco. Investigators have ruled out foul play in the disappearance and death of a San Francisco woman whose body was found in the stairwell of a hospital where she was a patient, a family spokesman said. While the coroner hasn't established a cause or time of death for 57-year-old woman, investigators don't think she was the victim of an attack. Spalding had been missing for 17 days before she was found on Tuesday during a routine check. (AP Photo/San Francisco Examiner, Mike Koozmin)

On Oct. 8, her body was found in a locked hospital stairwell. Susan Fahey, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Sheriff's Department, would not comment on whether the deputies who provide security at the hospital had searched for the missing woman.

The cause of death is unclear. Investigators believe she had been dead for several days when her body was discovered.

Harris told the newspaper he had been briefed on Thursday by the hospital's chief of medicine, Dr. Jeff Critchfield. Hospital officials confirmed that the conversation took place but declined to say what was said, citing concerns for the family's privacy.

On the day Spalding disappeared, all that was left behind were her cellphone and charger, Harris said. The family speculated that medication might have disoriented her, but the doctor said she was taking nothing that could have caused such a reaction.

The first two requests for searches came on the day she disappeared, Harris said. The hospital issued a third request on Sept. 30 for a search of the buildings and grounds.

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