Lawyer for victim's family disputes coroner's report on San Francisco hospital stairway death

An attorney for the woman found dead in a San Francisco General Hospital stairwell is disputing a coroner's report that her death was probably due to a chemical imbalance related to chronic alcohol abuse.

Haig Harris asserted to the San Francisco Chronicle ( Saturday that Lynne Spalding's death wasn't related to alcoholism and insisted that she died of starvation or dehydration.

He said the mention of alcoholism "demeans the memory of this woman, without telling us when she died, how long she was out there suffering."

Spalding's body was found in a locked stairwell Oct. 8, 17 days after she went missing from her hospital room.

David Perry, a family spokesman, also denied that Spalding had a drinking problem.

A call to the medical examiner's office was not immediately returned.