Woman found dead in stairwell of San Francisco hospital property

A woman was found dead in a stairwell of the power plant building at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.
(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

A woman was found dead Wednesday in a stairway of the power plant building on the grounds of Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, officials said.

A hospital staff member made the discovery about 1 p.m., according to the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

“We don’t know how this woman gained access to the area where she was found, and we are absolutely looking into that,” Rachael Kagan, a spokeswoman for the health department, told reporters.

Officials did not name the woman, but the woman’s daughter identified her to KRON-TV as Ruby Anderson, a 76-year-old with dementia. Charlene Roberts told the station that her mother went missing from a mental health facility May 20.


“I don’t even know why, how she died,” Roberts said. “I don’t know if she had a stroke, fell? I don’t know what happened.”

Wednesday’s discovery evoked a similar incident at the city-owned hospital five years ago that raised questions about safety and security at the sprawling hospital campus. In 2013, a patient was found dead in an emergency stairwell 17 days after she vanished from her hospital room.

Lynne Spalding, 57, had arrived at the hospital with an infection and went missing from her bed two days later. The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department searched the hospital while the woman’s family and friends distributed hundreds of fliers.

Eventually, a hospital worker discovered Spalding’s body in an exterior stairwell enclosed by wire mesh on the fourth floor of the hospital.

San Francisco’s medical examiner determined that Spalding died from dehydration and complications from alcoholism. After Spalding’s death, San Francisco General revamped security and implemented new procedures to prevent a similar incident.

A claim brought by her family was settled in 2014 for $3 million, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Twitter: @AleneTchek


10:20 p.m.: This article was updated with statements from the woman’s daughter.

This article was originally published at 7 p.m.