Hospital workers are entrusted with healing and helping the wounded, yet they are often vulnerable to acts of violence.
The murder-suicide last week at Florida Hospital Orlando--in which a disgruntled patient shot surgeon Dr. Dmitriy Nikitin and then himself--is part of growing violence in hospitals, highlighting a need for improved security measures.
Between 1995 and 2010, hospitals and healthcare facilities have experienced 256 assaults, rapes, or homicides with 110 of those occurring since 2007, according to data from The Joint Commission.
To guard against this growing penchant toward violence, hospitals ought to overhaul the way they handle visitors and implement violence prevention programs, notes the Orlando Sentinel.
"We can't just have people come in the door and wander all over," Russell Colling, a Colorado-based healthcare security consultant and author of three textbooks on hospital safety, told the newspaper. "We need to monitor them more closely."
He recommends providing a temporary badge for visitors, as well as asking them for photo ID and a brief background check.
Enhanced security doesn't have to be costly or complex. Hospitals can utilize employees--from security staff and clerks to doctors and nurses--as the front line of defense against suspicious activity or persons. Hospital workers can be trained to alert security if they think they're in danger or if a patient's behavior is escalating toward violence.