Hospitals in central Florida are beefing up security in the wake of a deadly shooting at an area facility. And at least one hospital plans to employ armed guards, a practice that some say will endanger patient safety.
The actions are in response to a shooting earlier this month at Parrish Medical Center, a not-for-profit, 210-bed acute care hospital in Titusville. Authorities believe the shooter entered the hospital through the emergency room door and took an elevator to hospital’s third floor, where he shot and killed a 92-year-old patient and her caregiver, according to Florida Today. The hospital security followed its "Code Silver" active shooter policy and subdued the gunman, Space Coast Daily reported.
In the week since the shooting, Parrish has increased security in its emergency department and main entrance, instituting random bag checks and restricting access at certain locations within the facility, according to the article. Health First, a system which owns four other hospitals in the same county, is also implementing those measures, as well as the controversial practice of employing armed guards.
Health First will begin using the armed security guards this week, according to Florida Today, and the guards will undergo safety training to carry firearms and stun guns. The debate around adding armed guards to hospitals has been contentious, FierceHealthcare previously reported, as some argue that increasing the number of guns may increase the threat to patients.
In the wake of a string of mass shootings across the country, hospitals are increasingly planning for active shooter situations in their facilities, or to handle a sudden influx of patients if a shooting occurs elsewhere, FierceHealthcare previously reported. Treating patients wounded in a mass shooting can lead to security changes at hospitals, too, according to Health News Florida. At Orlando Health, the system which treated the majority of patients injured in the Pulse nightclub shooting, people coming into its hospitals are now being screened with wands and bag checks, according to the publication.