Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hospital Security: bad and getting worse

Across America, hospitals (and in particular emergency departments) are seeing increased rates of physical assault.  The sources of this are probably numerous, but I suspect the main ones are epidemic drug abuse, frustration over finances, decreased access to mental health care and a general lack of respect for authority and the well-being of others.

Our facility has been facing this issue.  And we have made improvements. But I have been consistently stunned by the way administrators are deathly afraid of anything that might, on any level, cause harm to those individuals who assail nurses and physicians.  It's a remarkable mentality that always makes attackers into unwitting victims, who need to be protected from the nasty doctors, nurses, security personnel and law enforcement officers who might actually have to touch them (instead of 'talking them down.')

So, for my first thought on things that impede progress, there's this:  hospitals that are afraid to protect their staff, due to fears of litigation or negative PR, are impeding the safety and efficiency of those they should treat as precious resources.  Namely, the very providers who care for patients, sane, crazy, violent or criminal, rather than sitting in offices, wringing their hands over yet another file-folder of regulations.



  1. It seems to be the way all medicine is these days, always on the defensive and less and less proactive. We don't want to offend the drug seekers, or to restrain the combative patient for fear of complaint/lawsuit from the patients or their families.

  2. It's the same in every industry: a dead employee costs the company next to nothing, but an employee who while defending themselves causes injury to another just became a huge financial liability.

    Hospital Security is there to protect the hospital, not the employees.


    PS: Repeal EMTALA

  3. Seems that everywhere I read, someone is writing about increase in violence and that people are truly becoming ruder. I don't know why, but I suspect that 40 years of anything goes broke too many barriers.