Woman found dead in SF General power plant

A woman whose body was found Wednesday at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital has been identified as 75-year-old Ruby Andersen of San Francisco, according to the city’s medical examiner’s office.

An engineering employee discovered Andersen’s body in the stairway of a power plant facility on the hospital’s campus around 1 p.m., according to San Francisco Department of Public Health officials.

The medical examiner’s office is expected to begin conducting an autopsy today to find out how Andersen died, said Roland Pickens, director of the Department of Public Health’s San Francisco Health Network.

Sheriff Vicki Hennessy said:

“In addition to the Department of Public Health and everyone else, the sheriff’s department wants to express out our deepest condolences to the family and to the friends and those who knew Mrs. Andersen”

Andersen was not a patient at the hospital but a resident at a care facility for seniors located the hospital’s campus and was allowed to sign herself in and out of the facility, Hennessy said.

Andersen was reported missing on May 20, after signing herself out around 9 a.m.

After she was reported missing, a deputy began investigating by calling Andersen’s family, checking the hospital to verify she hadn’t been admitted, checking the city’s jail; entering her information into a missing persons database, and checking with the medical examiner’s office. In addition, a flier was made about her disappearance and circulated around the hospital’s campus, according to Hennessy.

The power plant facility where Andersen’s body was discovered is only used by hospital staff and is not regularly patrolled by deputies, Hennessy said.

Pickens said:

“We’ve learned that up until this point, the access to the power plant building has been open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to allow the constant flow of staff and materials in and out of that building.”

He added:

“One of the immediate steps we took (Wednesday) after finding out about this incident was to institute 24/7 security badge access into the power plant building. That’s an immediate measure we’re taking and we’ll obviously take more as well learn more.”

Deputies have since conducted a search of the entire campus.

In October 2013, the body of 57-year-old Lynne Spalding was found in a hospital stairwell after she had been reported missing the previous month.

Spalding, a British woman, disappeared after being admitted to the hospital only two days earlier.

According to a report by the city’s medical examiner’s office, Spalding had been dead for some days before being discovered. Her death was ruled accidental, due to an electrolyte imbalance, a condition that can be caused by dehydration.

Spalding’s death triggered a set of new security protocols for hospital staff and sheriff’s deputies, who provide security for the hospital. Additionally, the city settled a lawsuit with her family for nearly $3 million.