Last month, a lone gunman shot and killed Dr. Michael Davidson at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. By all accounts, Davidson was an outstanding doctor, husband and father of three with a fourth child on the way. No one saw it coming.
Imagine looking around your waiting room and seeing scores of patients are waiting indefinitely in an uncomfortable environment, only to be asked highly personal questions. It’s a tense situation that can be easily exacerbated by perceived prejudices or hostile attitudes by hospital staff, or by the patient’s own mental instability or use of drugs or alcohol.
Not surprisingly, ninety two percent of physical acts of violence or verbal threats are generated by the patients themselves, according to hospital and healthcare security expert Tony York. In fact, studies show that between one-third and one-half of all workers within emergency departments have faced acts of violence within the past year.
There’s a lot of confusion among hospital administrators and security officers about how to abide by the numerous healthcare security guidelines issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Joint Commission, the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).