Hospital Violence and Inadequate Security Attorney
Violence in Hospitals and Emergency Rooms
Hospitals, emergency rooms (ERs), nursing homes
, and medical institutions are being confronted with
increased rates of crimes, including violent crimes. What used to be considered sacred and a place for healing and helping is quickly becoming a place of assault, rape, murder and a growing threat to both patients and medical caregivers. What used to be considered sacred and a place for healing and helping is quickly becoming a place of assault
and a growing threat to both patients and medical caregivers.
Violence is often perpetrated by staff, visitors (ex. rival gang members, family members), patients — and intruders, according to The Joint Commission
, that accredits and certifies more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. According to the Joint Commission’s voluntary reporting system, there were 256 assaults, rapes
or homicides of patients and visitors at American health centers since 1995, with 110 of those acts occurring after 2007. Patients and hospital personnel were also assaulted by biting, hitting, slapping, kicking and chasing.
These numbers are likely low as many incidents go under reported. "Hospital administration makes the decision whether to report incidents, and people don't like to report violence more than they have to," says Russell Colling, a health care security consultant. "Many incidents go unreported because they don't fall into the hospital's definition of 'violence,' but others are omitted because officials don't want them to reflect negatively on the hospital's image."
Injuries to hospital workers, bystanders and patients can range from minor to serious physical injury, temporary and permanent physical disability, psychological trauma and even death.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
violence in hospitals usually results from patients and occasionally from their family members who feel frustrated, vulnerable, and out of control.Some Potential Reasons Why Violent Attacks May Occur
- Patients are under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Patients are suffering from head injuries
- Patients are experiencing withdrawal symptoms
- Patients may be suffering from dementia or a psychiatric problem which can cause them to either become confused or where their perception of reality can sometimes become distorted
- Patients frustrated with delays and waiting times and overcrowding
- Inadequate security or lack of security
- Unrestrictive movement of the public (visitors and guests) in hospitals
- Lack of staff training and policies for identify and defusing volatile patients, family members, etc.
Emergency rooms and nurses are the most frequent targets for violence because they have the most direct patient contact. Hospitals continue to find ways to reduce the risk of violence but violence continues to occur at an alarming rate. These measures include hiring security
, installing medical detectors, security cameras
and panic buttons, having security conduct searches and using metal-detecting wands in the hospital's emergency departments, having hospital staff and guards verify medical appointments for all arriving patients and visitors, and placing wristbands or temporary badges on all visitors.
Security experts say the most important step hospitals can take is to educate employees to alert security if they think they are or a patient is in danger from a staff worker, another patient, a visitor, or someone else.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of an assault
, or murder while in a hospital, emergency room or medical facility, contact our negligent security attorneys
to discuss your legal rights.