Hospitals are typically thought of as safe, benign places. Many Pennsylvania residents never give a second thought to security issues when frequenting hospitals in the state. Unfortunately, hospitals are somewhat prone to violent acts. The question is how to address inadequate security and reduce acts of violence perpetrated on hospital property.
The results of a study that looked at hospital shootings occurring between 2000 and 2011 reveal a grim picture. One-hundred-fifty-four hospital shootings occurred during the study period. Ninety-one of these shootings happened inside the hospital and 63 of them occurred outside on hospital grounds. More than 230 people were injured or killed because of these shootings.
Here are a few more disturbing facts about hospital shootings:
— In 13 of the shootings studied, the perpetrator took the firearm he or she used from security or police personnel.
— Out of the 235 shooting victims, 129 were innocent victims.
— 55 percent of the innocent victims died of their injuries.
— 32 percent of the shootings were motivated by “current or estranged” intimate relationships.
— 10 percent of the shootings involved more than one victim.
— Hospital staff is “unlikely to be victims” of violence.”
— 30 to 36 percent of the shootings might have been prevented if a metal detector was in place.
Ultimately, the study authors concluded that achieving a “zero risk” of violence in or on hospital grounds is an unrealistic goal. However, considering that so many perpetrators got their weapons from authorized personnel indicates that inadequate security measures could be a contributing factor.
The main takeaway here is to remain alert to escalating situations when visiting a hospital. While this is no help to those already injured because of violence or inadequate security, perhaps pursuing a legal remedy can help victims move forward with their lives in the aftermath.