SFGH formalizing security management plans following 2013 patient death 

click to enlarge SF General Hospital - SF EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • SF Examiner file photo
  • SF General Hospital
Officials are formalizing security protocols for the Department of Public Health and, more specifically, at San Francisco General Hospital following the death of a patient whose body was found weeks after disappearing from her room in 2013.

Basil Price, director of security for The City’s health department, has been developing a security systems infrastructure at the hospital as part of a series of recommendations for the hospital in a review of its security program conducted last year by UC San Francisco.

Lynne Spalding, 57, was found dead on Oct. 8, 2013, on a fourth-floor stairwell at San Francisco General after she disappeared from her room more than two weeks earlier. The hospital has since made a number of improvements to its security systems, most recently regarding the overall infrastructure of security, health officials said.

“Rather [than] focusing on one particular area of security, we’ve done revisions of the management plan to address security campus-wide,” Price said.

A summary of key findings, recommendations and improvements related to San Francisco General security that was prepared for the Health Commission’s Joint Conference Committee meeting Tuesday outlined enhancements to the hospital’s security program they’ve been working on since October.

“We are formalizing security management plans to ensure the safety of patients, visitors and employees at San Francisco General Hospital,” said Price, who noted the latest improvements primarily include infrastructure updates.

For instance, in response to a finding in UCSF’s review that there was a lack of staff training in security, health officials have expanded efforts to conduct audits of hospital training records, and report results.

Other improvements to hospital security in recent months include an updated memorandum of understanding with the Sheriff’s Department, which is the primary source of security for the hospital, and a monthly performance survey.

UCSF’s review also found that the security communications office was staffed by civilians, rather than trained emergency dispatchers or security professionals. A standard operating procedure has been implemented in recent months to define the expectations of the radio dispatcher and telephone operator.

The Sheriff’s Operations Center is also anticipated to relocate to a larger space on the first floor of the main hospital in April, and a visitors’ kiosk has been purchased that will be manned by the Sheriff’s Department. A plan addressing the vulnerabilities identified in the assessment is scheduled to be completed March 30.


About The Author

Laura Dudnick

Laura Dudnick, a Bay Area native, covers education and planning for The San Francisco Examiner. She previously worked as a senior local editor for Patch.com, and as the San Mateo County bureau reporter and weekend editor for Bay City News Service.
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