Austin (KXAN) — The bullet didn’t just smash the glass windows at Austin’s Del Ceton Medical Center. For some, the sense of security was also shattered.
“I’m at work today on a busy vacation, and no one on the hospital’s leadership team told anyone about this happening,” said one person, who identified himself as an employee, in July. Speaking to KXAN about the incident on the 4th, he said, “Everyone who works here goes through that skybridge. Security doesn’t even exist.”
KXAN spoke with employees who requested anonymity to speak candidly without fear of losing their jobs.
The case highlights how health care workers, taught to do no harm, are being forced to adapt to the new emergency of the growing threat of violence.
Shortly after 9:00 a.m. on July 4, a shot was fired at the sky bridge connecting the 15th Street parking lot to the Del Ceton. According to the University of Texas at Austin Police Department.
As of this week, no one has been hurt or arrested.
A photo sent to KXAN shows a spiderweb cracked glass panel covered with two yellow caution tapes.of American Hospital Associationor AHA don’t be surprised.
“It’s very disappointing, to say the least,” said John Riggi, former FBI veteran and now national adviser on cybersecurity and risk for the AHA, a trade group representing nearly 5,000 hospitals. says. “These acts of violence are despicable.”
“Top Risk Problem”
Six weeks ago, KXAN requested services from the Austin Police Department for all hospitals in the area. I haven’t received that data yet. however, Study at the National Library of Medicine Since the start of the pandemic, 44% of nurses nationwide reported being physically assaulted, and 68% experienced verbal harassment.
Nationally, as of 2018, health workers are: Five times more likely to experience workplace violence, according to the Bureau of Labor Statisticswe find that the trend has been steadily rising since at least 2011.
“Nearly every hospital CEO I’ve spoken to across the country is now cyber threat“Physical threats of violence against staff are the biggest risk issue,” Rigi said.
Dell Seton Medical Center’s parent company, Ascension, said all managers were notified of the sky bridge incident and were “advised to update their teams if necessary.”
“We maintain a security presence at all hospital facilities and follow appropriate safety protocols to continue to protect our employees, patients, and their families,” said Ascension spokesperson Jennifer Hudson.
The hospital was shut down in June after an unrelated incident. Three suspects, one armed with a gunran through the hospital and was arrested After drive-by shooting. Five killed in shooting at Tulsa, Oklahoma medical facility.
last year, A gunman opens fire at a Minnesota clinic, killing one and injuring four.January 2021, Austin pediatrician Dr. Catherine Linsley Dodson murdered At a children’s medical group during a hostage confrontation.
The rise in violence prompted the AHA to write to US Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“It is no longer acceptable for health professionals to be assaulted or threatened ‘as part of their job,’” the letter said. “This unacceptable situation requires a federal response.”
“part of the job”
After a bullet hit the bridge at Dell Seton Medical Center, someone claiming to be an employee sent me a photo. It’s not just the shattered glass, it’s from an internal presentation that shows the hospital is stepping up security. Changes include adding 24/7 metal detectors and bulletproof glass to the emergency department. Adopt more security. A dedicated police officer was stationed in the garage and a security phone was installed on the skybridge.
Ascension does not endorse or deny any new security measures.
“Unfortunately, many health care workers now believe that enduring physical attacks, assaults, threats and intimidation is now just part of the job,” said Riggi. says.
On Capitol Hill, a new bill — Health Care Worker Safety from Violence (SAVE) Act — seeks to increase penalties by making assaults on health care workers a federal crime. It sent to the House Judiciary Committee in June.
The AHA supports the bill, and hospitals across the country are stepping up security, surveillance, and target practice.
“Dealing with pandemics, dealing with cyber threats – the last thing they have to worry about is the threat of violence,” Rigi said.
Recent articles written by Association of American Medical Colleges Confusion over care results from increased aggression. Frustration due to understaffing. political and social issues; and mental disorders.
In Texas, during the last legislative session, Several bills were not passed to allow patients to carry handguns in hospitals. of Texas Hospital Association The healthcare environment is “not just a place for guns,” he said. work to prevent it.
THA’s Carrie Williams said, “These incidents are a reminder of why guns don’t work in hospitals and why we’ve worked so hard to maintain a gun-free environment.” is supposed to be a safe place for healing, but difficult decisions are being made every day within the facility, and the addition of guns only increases the potential for violence.”
THA says so Help identify patients as having a “violent history” when admitted to health serviceswithout violating privacy.
https://www.kxan.com/investigations/gunshot-fired-at-austin-hospital-bridge-highlights-healthcare-violence/ Gunshots fired at Texas hospital bridge highlight medical violence