Thursday, July 7, 2011

Are hospitals secure enough?

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 9:09 AM

Should hospitals scan visitors for weapons?
  • Should hospitals scan visitors for weapons?

A shooting at a Naples, Fla., hospital this week has triggered questions about how hospitals handle security.

A man shot his wife who was visiting a patient at Physicians Regional-Pine Ridge and then turned the gun on himself but survived. The Florida Hospital Association had previously urged hospitals to examine security throughout their facilities, not just the emergency room, including scanning visitors for weapons.

It's not a reach to wonder what procedures the local hospital systems have in place, so we asked them.

Brian Newsome with city-owned Memorial Health System says:

I spoke with our security manager, and we have very robust protocols. You may recall we had a domestic-violence related murder a number of years ago. We have metal detectors in our Emergency Departments at Central and North. We have specific procedures for an active-shooter scenario, workplace violence, and hostage situations. We keep security officers at a number of our entrances almost of all of the time. We work with CSPD (Colorado Springs Police Department) on drills such as child abductions and workplace violence.

Chris Valentine, with Centura Health's Penrose-St. Francis system in Colorado Springs, says:

As one of the people in the article said, hospitals are public places that have to continually work to balance access and security. Research shows that having family and friends close by can help in the healing process. Our hope is to balance that convenient access for families and friends while providing an environment where patients feel safe. At Penrose-St. Francis, we have an outstanding team of security professionals. They work closely with our nursing and professional staff in drills and other preparedness activities. Without going into too much detail, in our hospitals and other facilities, we have a wide variety of security measures in place, such as video surveillance and access controlled areas.

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