Brother demands investigation after twin found dead in locked hospital stairwell

Lynne Spalding
Lynne Spalding
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THE twin brother of a woman found dead in a US hospital today called for an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death.

Bill Spalding, from Easington Lane, says he wants an independent inquiry carried out as to how the body of his sister Lynne, 57, was found more than two and a half weeks after going missing.

Lynne, originally from Peterlee, had moved Stateside a number of years ago and worked in the city’s tourism industry. She was being treated for a bladder infection at San Francisco General Hospital.

When staff realised the mum-of-two had disappeared from her room on September 21, a search was carried out, but her body was not found until 17 days later, having accidentally been locked in a stairwell.

Health inspectors have now carried out an investigation into patient safety, privacy and security at the hospital and claim a number of improvements have been made.

“We have made significant progress toward a safer and more secure hospital,” said a statement.

“We can assure Ms Spalding’s family, and all our patients, visitors and staff, that we are a safer organisation today.

“Her family is in the forefront of our minds as we continue to work to improve safety and security for all our patients.”

But grieving Bill, a carer, said the statement does not begin to satisfy his or the rest of Lynne’s family’s search for answers.

“This is just putting a gloss on the total disregard for the norms of procedure that any hospital in the first world should have,” he said.

“I think it’s about time there was an independent investigation carried out by people who don’t have a vested interest in the hospital.

“We were told that Lynne was found in a ‘remote stairwell’, but it was actually just feet away from her hospital bed, so that doesn’t add up.”

Bill and his wife Gill, 53, travelled to the hospital in October hoping to see where Lynne died but were told by British Consular staff that they would not be allowed.

More recently, Bill has been in contact with the British Consulate, although he claims progress has been slow.

“Lynne was a British citizen and we need to find out why this happened to her,” he said.