Hospital violence: Boston hospital prepared for active shooting event

In the latest in a series of violent, often fatal incidents in hospitals, a man shot and killed a cardiac surgeon at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital before turning the gun on himself, according to the Boston Globe.  

The man, identified as Stephen Pasceri, appears to have targeted Michael J. Davidson, M.D., over prior treatment of Pasceri's mother, who died in November. Davidson was pronounced dead 12 hours later. No other hospital employees or patients were injured.

New England has seen several recent hospital attacks, according to CBS Boston, including a man who killed his wife and himself last month at Dover, New Hampshire's Wentworth Douglas Hospital and a prisoner who shot a guard while being treated at Boston's Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in 2013.

Brigham and Women's Hospital had prepared for an active-shooter scenario, and once the shots were fired, staff barricaded themselves in separate rooms until they received the all-clear signal, according to Boston.com. The hospital was one of the best-prepared facilities for such a scenario, according to Leonard J. Marcus, M.D., co-director of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, a collaboration between Boston hospitals and the Harvard School of Public Health created in the wake of 2013's Boston Marathon bombing.

In 2014, Marcus worked with Eric Goralnick, Brigham and Women's medical director of emergency preparedness, as part of a Baltimore summit to discuss the issue, according to the article.

"There were a number of difficult questions we were trying to answer that day," Marcus said, such as "What if clinicians are in a patient care area and ordered to evacuate? What should clinicians do? How does one hide in a hospital? "

Many hospitals have responded to the threat of violence by forming their own police departments, but this strategy has its drawbacks, according to Healthcare Dive. Misconduct complaints have cost the New York Police Department $735 million in settlements as of 2012, to pick one example, and when mistakes are inevitably made, a hospital does not have the resources of a city, according to the article.

To learn more:
- read the Globe article
- here's the CBS article
- check out the Boston.com article
- read the Healthcare Dive article

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