Bronx-Lebanon Hospital addresses both practical and emotional repercussions of deadly shooting

Patient and nurse in hospital
Clinicians and staff at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital continue to feel the emotional repercussion of a fatal shooting there.

Although clinicians and staff at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital never lost focus on caring for their patients after a former physician shot and killed one person and injured six more before turning the gun on himself, there are reminders are all around and the staff is still on high alert.

Three of the injured were doctors, none of whom have returned to work, Sridhar Chilimuri, the hospital’s physician-in-chief, tells The New York Times. Nor have another 20 staff members, most of whom worked on the floors where the shooting occurred.

RELATED: Bronx-Lebanon Hospital shooting—Tales of heroism in the face of horror

The Times story details life at the hospital since the tragedy. Some changes are security-minded: The organization will install turnstiles and badge-verification lanes at entrances, for example. And visitors will receive stickers that track how long they have been in the hospital, according to Hiram Torres, the hospital’s vice president of operations.

But others effects are personal, such as the nurse who continues to suffer flashbacks and has trouble concentrating on her work.

Unfortunately,  Bronx-Lebanon is not alone. Last year a shooter entered Parrish Medical Center and shot and killed a 92-year-old patient and her caregiver. This month, an Indiana doctor was shot and killed after he refused to prescribe opioids to the gunman’s wife.

RELATED: Physician’s murder leaves doctors shaken, questioning how to deal with patients seeking opioids

In response, hospitals have stepped up security and practiced how to respond to active shooters and other in-hospital violence. But they’re also addressing the personal, emotional toll that such incidents leave in their wake.

At Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, which is located less than a mile from Brigham and Women’s and was the site of a 2015 shooting, employees continued to feel vulnerable, said Christopher Casey, director of security services.

Folcarelli said Beth Israel’s interventions encouraged staff to more freely report assaults or threats, offered support to employees and prepared teams to deal with the worst possible situations, such as an active shooter.

RELATED: To combat workplace violence, step up reporting systems

It took concrete steps, such as flagging patient records for previous incidents of physical or verbal assault and warning clinical teams that there is a history of such behavior.

It also formed a threat assessment team, made up of staff members from across the hospital including leadership, clinicians, legal representatives and security, that can handle serious threats so one staff member is not left to determine alone if a patient or family member is dangerous.

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