New Item: Broward County Crime Commission to Host Webinar: Active Shooters Among Us: Are the Solutions that Complex? – Meridian Star

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Sept. 22, 2022 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — As part of its Building Bridges Mental Health Conference Series, the Broward County Crime Commission is hosting a preemption and prevention-based webinar to analyze outside the box solutions to stop Active Shooter tragedies. 15 of the most renowned experts in the country are participating.

WHAT: Are the Solutions that Complex: Active Shooters Among Us

WHEN: Wednesday, September 28, 2022

WHERE: ZOOM Webinar Platform

TIME: 7:50 a.m. to Noon EDT

TO REGISTER: http://www.browardcrime.org/

Crime Commission Director/CEO, James DePelisi, was quoted as saying, “These Active Shooter killings are becoming an epidemic of great proportions. If School Districts, Public Safety, and Behavioral Health Specialists work closer together, to implement Intelligence Gathering solutions, these tragedies can certainly be mitigated. But it will require the proverbial Team Effort approach. It is not that complex. To quote Steve Jobs, Let’s Think Different…Together”

Four Tracks on the Day: 3 panels, 1 presentation, and 15 speakers. 

* Panel I: Artificial Intelligence Concepts and Intelligence Gathering Techniques;

* Panel II: Root Causes of Active Shooter events.

* Dual Presentation: How to Talk to Children about Active Shooter Tragedies;

* Panel III: Survivors from the Highland Park Illinois, July 4th shooting, discuss how they are coping and moving forward. Hear their stories.

TO REGISTER: www.BrowardCrime.org

SEE FULL AGENDA WITH PARTICIPANTS AND TIMES BELOW: 

7:50 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.

Opening Comments, James DePelisi, Broward County Crime Commission

8:00 a.m. to 8:55 a.m. – Panel I:

Educators, Law Enforcement, Behavioral Health & Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategies to INTERCEPT Active Shooter Killers

* Retired District Attorney, Matt Mangino, Lawrence County, PA

* Allison Paolini, Assistant Professor of School Counseling, Program Director, Arkansas State University

* T. Wilkins, Senior Vice President of Government Solutions, Zero Eyes

* Marisa R. Randazzo, Ph.D., Director of Threat Assessment Georgetown University

* Colonel Alvin Pollock, Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO)

MODERATOR: James DePelisi, Director/CEO, Broward County Crime Commission

BREAK: 8:55 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

9:00 a.m. to 9:55 a.m. – Panel II:

Are Guns the Root Cause of Active Killer Events?

* Analysis and Debate

* John Lott, President, Crime Prevention Research Center

* Ragy Girgis, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Columbia University Department of Psychiatry and New York State Psychiatric Institute

MODERATOR: James DePelisi, Director/CEO, Broward County Crime Commission

BREAK: 9:55 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

10:00 a.m. to 10:55 a.m. – Dual Presentation:

How to Talk to Your Children about Active Killer Tragedies

* Thomas DeMaria, National Center for School Crisis & Bereavemet

* Robin Gurwitch, Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine

BREAK: 10:55 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

11:00 a.m. to Noon – Panel III:

Survivors of Active Shooter Attacks – Hear How They Cope and Move Forward

* David Sallak, Citizen, Highland Park, Illinois, July 4th Shooting

* Tony Brosio, Citizen, Highland Park, Illinois, July 4th Shooting

* Nancy Rotering, Mayor, Highland Park, Illinois, July 4th Shooting

* Eric Graves, Community Journalist, FOX 59 TV, Indianapolis, on Behalf of the Citizens of the Greenwood Park Mall Shooting, Indiana

MODERATOR: Ms. Sandra Welch, Vice Mayor City of Coconut Creek

About the Broward County Crime Commission:

Founded in 1976, by Proclamation of the citizenry of south Florida, the Broward County Crime Commission is one of 22 Citizen Crime Commissions in America, and the fifth oldest in the United States. Its mission is to assess and evaluate crime, and social issues which can transpire into crime, within Broward County (and the state of Florida, in general), and to work in concert with the General Public, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice System to derive preemptive and preventive solutions to such crimes, through Behavioral Health Analytics, Academic Programs, and Community Outreach Programs. http://www.browardcrime.org/.

About the Building Bridges Mental Health Conference Series:

The Building Bridges Mental Health Conference Series was conceived to narrow the gap, and finite the correlation between Behavioral Health issues and Crime, so that such crimes can be prevented and preempted. Since November of 2013, the Crime Commission has hosted and executed a body of work comprising more than 40 webinars and conferences, in the areas of: Active Shooter Events, Verbal De-escalation and Conflict Resolution, Narcotics Trafficking, Domestic Violence, Workplace Violence, Societal Violence, School Campus Violence, Juvenile Violence, Crimes Against Children of Autism, Hate Crime Violence, Sextortion, and Cyber Crime Ransomware Extortion. More than 7,000 people have attended these acclaimed forums; and more than 700 speakers and judges have participated. Attendees and panel participants include: Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Sociologists, Social Workers, Journalists, Law Enforcement Administrators, Judges, Criminal Justice Members, Front Line First Responders, Prosecutors, Defense Attorney’s, Doctors, Nurses, Academia, Educators, and the General Public.

TO REGISTER: http://www.BrowardCrime.org/

MEDIA CONTACT:

Broward County Crime Commission: Tel: 754-423-1976 or 954-803-2139; Email: James@BrowardCrime.org.

MULTIMEDIA:

PHOTO link for media: https://www.Send2Press.com/300dpi/22-0923-s2p-browardcrm-300dpi.jpg

Photo Caption:  Broward County Crime Commission past panelists.

NEWS SOURCE: Broward County Crime Commission

This press release was issued on behalf of the news source (Broward County Crime Commission) who is solely responsibile for its accuracy, by Send2Press® Newswire. Information is believed accurate but not guaranteed. Story ID: 85336 APDF-R8.6

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Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Small keeps blazing trails – The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald – Roanoke Chowan News Herald

Small keeps blazing trails

Published 4:10 pm Friday, September 23, 2022

RALEIGH – A native of the Roanoke-Chowan area, hailed as a “trailblazer” long before that term became popular, is now a member of the prestigious North Carolina Nurses Association’s (NCNA) Hall of Fame.

Dr. Ernestine Small, the daughter of a Northampton County sharecropper who later became the first Black person elected president of the NCNA, was inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of the organization’s 115th annual convention held Sept. 15-16 in Raleigh.

“I thank you for this honor; I am deeply appreciative of it. This is my Emmy moment,” Small said after being introduced at the convention’s awards luncheon. “One of the pinnacles of my professional life and my personal life was being elected president [of the NCNA]. “I don’t know how many of you out there were a part of that era, but we had a great time.”

She shared just how badly she wanted to serve in the capacity of NCNA president.

“I went to every hotel room and put a small circle on the door that said ‘Elect Ernestine Small’,” she recalled of the 1979 NCNA Convention.

“I sang to ya’ll,” Small recalled as she invited a few of her nursing colleagues on stage for an impromptu performance of “The Gambler” by the late Kenny Rogers.

She thanked her now late parents, Rufus and Velia Brown, for their love and support.

“I never doubted that they wanted me to have a life better than theirs and they did what they could to equip me to be on my own and make a contribution to society,” Small stressed.

“I’m now in the season of my life where I’m beginning to reflect did I, am I making a difference,” Small added. “This induction into the Hall of Fame gives me that affirmation.”

Small’s path from the rich soil of her native Northampton County to the NCNA Hall of Fame could easily provide the script of a made-for-TV movie.

She had already exhausted all of the local educational opportunities afforded to her by age 16. She enrolled in the BSN program at Tuskegee Institute, where she excelled. From there, she launched an unprecedented career full of noteworthy examples of breaking new ground.

Small returned to North Carolina and took a job at the segregated Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro. When that facility was legally forced to integrate, she was the first Black person to eat in what had been the whites-only cafeteria. Later, she became the first Black faculty member at UNC-Greensboro and the first Black person elected to the North Carolina Board of Nursing.

Being “first” – several times over – is just one of the reasons NCNA chose to honor Dr. Small. Her track record of leadership is also undeniable. She was an essential part of NCNA’s successful lobbying efforts at the General Assembly in 1981, including the push to define the scopes of practice for LPNs and RNs and the mandate that the majority of Board of Nursing members be elected by fellow nurses.

After an illustrious tenure at UNC-G, Dr. Small went on to serve as the Dean of multiple schools of nursing, including North Carolina Central University and Winston-Salem State University, before spearheading a diversity program at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Nearly 500 registered nurses from across the state attended the annual convention. The event primarily provides an opportunity for professional development, continuing education, and networking, while also serving as a chance to honor nurses and those outside the profession who have made significant impacts on healthcare.

“It seems like every time we get together it gets better. This year, the energy is so high; the engagement, the enthusiasm. It fills my cup meeting new people, seeing them network and connect,” said NCNA President Meka Douthit EL. “This is the place where we advocate for education, practice, policy, and so much more. There is something for everybody.”

During the awards luncheon, the NCNA also named seven award winners, and celebrated the graduation of its 10th Leadership Academy.

This year’s convention focused heavily on the state of healthcare in 2022. While society at-large has moved past the coronavirus pandemic, nurses are struggling with serious workforce shortages, burnout, and increasing violence/abuse at the workplace. NCNA’s Statewide Membership Forum, which is designed to help guide the association’s priorities, was dedicated entirely to workplace violence and verbal abuse. Attendees considered the impact these issues have had on their workplace and ways that NCNA can help support a comprehensive culture of safety and zero-tolerance to abuse and violence in healthcare settings.

“Over the past few years, these issues have been getting worse and our members have increasingly been sounding the alarm,” NCNA CEO Tina Gordon said. “Nurses need to be heard and they need to know they’re not alone with their concerns, and I’m glad NCNA was able to support our members by giving them a platform on this incredibly important topic. This conversation gave us critical input we can take to our partners in healthcare systems, at the regulatory level, and in the North Carolina General Assembly to better address these issues.”

Established in 1902, NCNA provides continuing education, networking and legislative advocacy for registered nurses throughout North Carolina. For more information, visit http://www.ncnurses.org.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Understanding the dynamics of workplace violence can improve employee health and safety – Newswise

Newswise — Toronto – Workplace violence is a pervasive problem with tremendous costs for individuals, organizations, and society. A new study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) focuses on convenience-store robberies, one of the most common forms of workplace violence, and finds that robbers are significantly more likely to injure employees who are present on the sales floor rather than behind the cash register when a robbery begins. But industry standard safety training practices encourage employees to get out from behind the register for their safety.

“Unlike past studies, we used video of convenience-store robberies to examine why and when injuries during robberies occur,” says co-author Katherine DeCelles, a professor of organizational behavioural and human resource management at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, who hold a cross-appointment to the University’s Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies. “We suggest that an understanding of the interactive dynamics of workplace violence and emphasize the critical need to verify that common practices for organizations are evidence based for employee health and safety.”

Prof. DeCelles and her colleagues first examined 196 surveillance videos and archival data of convenience store robberies collected over a four-year period. The results showed a significant correlation between employee location at the beginning of the robbery and injury, with lower risk of injury if employees were behind the register when the robbery began than if they were on the sales floor. Follow-up studies involving 648 people, including both formerly incarcerated individuals and retail clerks, found that when presented with robbery onset scenarios, more than 81% of participants expected employees to be behind the register and anticipated significantly more violence during the robbery if the employee was on the sales floor rather than behind the register. Finally, the authors conducted a three-year longitudinal field study with revised safety protocols that provided a behavioral script to follow in case of a robbery while employees are on the sales floor. The authors found, in an additional 368 robberies, a significantly lower risk of injury when employees were on the sales floor as the robbery began following the protocol change, relative to before the intervention.

“This understanding of the dynamics of workplace violence and how to mitigate it is relevant for any retail organization and for developing effective policies which promote employee health and safety,” says Prof. DeCelles.

The research was co-authored with Maryam Kouchaki of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and Nir Halevy of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

Bringing together high-impact faculty research and thought leadership on one searchable platform, the new Rotman Insights Hub offers articles, podcasts, opinions, books and videos representing the latest in management thinking and providing insights into the key issues facing business and society. Visit www.rotman.utoronto.ca/insightshub.

The Rotman School of Management is part of the University of Toronto, a global centre of research and teaching excellence at the heart of Canada’s commercial capital. Rotman is a catalyst for transformative learning, insights and public engagement, bringing together diverse views and initiatives around a defining purpose: to create value for business and society. For more information, visit www.rotman.utoronto.ca

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: [Hybrid Event] Stronger Together: 2022 Labor & Employment Law Seminar – October 19th, Norfolk, VA – JD Supra

October 19th, 2022

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM EDT

Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel

777 Waterside Dr

Norfolk, VA 23510

To signup for the virtual seminar click here.

Strong collaboration between HR and legal is crucial in the ever-changing landscape of labor and employment laws. Working together can help you avoid potential legal risks and find quick resolutions to employee-related matters. Wood Rogers Vandeventer Black’s 2022 Labor & Employment seminars provide an in-depth overview of the most pressing issues facing employers: federal and state legal updates; workplace violence; worker organization; online harassment; and the challenges surrounding FMLA, ADA, and workers’ compensation. Our mission is to provide you with strategic guidance and practical solutions for HR success.

The full day session includes the following topics:

  • Common Points: Legal Updates & Hot Topics
  • United Front: Combining Forces Against Workplace Violence
  • Don’t Go It Alone: Workers are Organizing
  • Stay Connected: Tackling Online Harassment
  • Intersection of FMLA/ADA/WC: The Triple Threat Panel

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Oregon Hospital Issued Workplace Safety Fines – Insurance Journal

The Oregon State Hospital is facing a $54,000 fine for failing to investigate workplace injuries.

The citation, brought by the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, alleges that from January 2021 to June 2022 the hospital didn’t investigate every time workers suffered an injury or illness that caused them to miss work, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported. The hospital didn’t look at ways to prevent future injuries and illness from occurring, according to the citation.

The state hospital is a secure psychiatric facility that largely houses people charged with crimes, but who need mental health treatment before their cases can proceed. In recent years, it has struggled to admit people within the required seven days of being ordered into their care.

Last year, the hospital documented over 300 cases that resulted in thousands of hours away from work, according to the citation. Oregon OSHA also said about 40% of the injury and illness cases in 2022 were the result of workplace violence and most of those cases weren’t investigated.

The Oregon State Hospital, like other hospitals, has struggled with staffing throughout the pandemic. At times, the National Guard has been called in to help.

A unnamed hospital spokesperson says they plan to pay the fine and are working to address the issues.

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Vermont National Guard takes steps to prevent interpersonal violence – DVIDS

COLCHESTER, VT, UNITED STATES

09.22.2022

The Vermont National Guard is moving forward with a program to closely analyze and improve its climate, in line with Department of Defense initiatives to revamp the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program.

The Vermont Guard’s Integrated Prevention Workforce will analyze data available through Sexual Assault Response Coordinators, the Equal Employment Opportunity office, the State Equal Employment Manager, and other agencies to examine risk factors and protective factors related to sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, and workplace violence, said Maj. Scott Detweiler, who will be the workforce program manager.

“We’ll first define what the program looks like and how it operates,” Detweiler said. “Our purpose is to analyze data available to us, assess where our risk factors and protective factors are, examine how we can influence those, and assess the effectiveness of that influence. We’ll be applying a public health model to these areas in a way the Department of Defense hasn’t done before.”

The DOD’s new approach to prevention will use a public health lens developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Detweiler said.

“It’s the same model we use to understand COVID-19,” Detweiler said. “Through data modeling, we understood which populations were most vulnerable, and we understood the prevalence throughout the community. We overlaid that with hospitalizations and deaths to understand the severity in relation to the prevalence.”

The prevalence of COVID depends on risk factors like large social gatherings and protective factors like community vaccination rates. Similarly, violence has its own risk factors like drug and alcohol misuse, hostility toward women, and hyper aggressiveness, as well as protective factors like empathy, concern for others, and de-escalation skills.

“The task of the IPW is to bring that type of holistic analysis into the Vermont National Guard,” Detweiler said.

The model is similar to one Detweiler included in briefings to the local community during his tenure as SARC from 2016-2018. The briefing included CDC risk factors associated with sexual violence and measures that the Guard could take to reduce those risks and promote protective factors. The risk factors are common across multiple types of interpersonal violence, including those under the IPW’s purview.

The IPW analysis will be largely invisible to service members within the Guard because they’ll use data that the Guard already collects, Detweiler said.

“The Army National Guard has been administering unit risk inventories, which ask questions that happen to measure the risk factors that the IPW is looking for,” he said. “In the same way, the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute’s climate survey is administered to the entire Army and Air Force. We have these and other associated tools, so we don’t have to add onto a Soldier’s plate.”

Surveys will provide half of the total data available to the IPW, Detweiler said. The other half will come through qualitative analysis, including surveys from medical and behavioral health teams, counselors, and chaplains.

“None of that data is driven to the individual level,” Detweiler said. “We’re looking for anything they’re seeing that the surveys may miss so that we can get a clear picture of the Vermont National Guard as a system: What parts of the system need work, and what kind of work should that be.”

Detweiler compared the analysis to diagnosing car trouble: “What part of the car is making the funny noise, and what should we do to fix it.”

The hiring process is set to start in Fiscal Year 2023 and will build the workforce up to a staff of four to six people.

“Analysis will be a large part of it,” Detweiler said. “Some employees may have prevention or information delivery roles. We’re still working on what that will look like. Once we have the workforce, we need to do our own analysis of where we are now, identify where we want to be and what we want to look like, then develop the strategy and tactics to move us there.”

The IPW is one of more than 80 recommendations provided by the Secretary of Defense’s Independent Review Commission of Sexual Assault in the Military and approved by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Army Resilience Director James Helis said in April that the service must shift its focus to true prevention.

“Commanders have lots of data available to them right now, but often they don’t have the staff with the knowledge, expertise, and time to analyze that data so they can better understand the organizational climate.”

Detweiler said the IPW will deliver analysis and recommendations that commanders can use to develop safer and more cohesive units.

“It comes down to leadership,” Detweiler said. “How do we foster leaders who are capable of training ready and lethal service members who will also take care of themselves, feel connected to one another, and treat those they live with well.”

Date Taken: 09.22.2022
Date Posted: 09.23.2022 09:26
Story ID: 429875
Location: COLCHESTER, VT, US 

Web Views: 5
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Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: The obstacles to staff safety and wellbeing in the NHS – IFSEC Global

opinion

The obstacles to staff safety and wellbeing in the NHS

IFSEC Global hears from Roger Ringham, Chair of the National Association for Healthcare Security (NAHS) as he discusses the barriers to safety and wellbeing for NHS staff. 

We know that violence and aggression against NHS staff is a problem. But how big a problem, we can’t be sure. All we can do is make estimates, and judge by our own direct experiences of working in healthcare security.

Roger Ringham, Chair of the National Association for Healthcare Security (NAHS)

The reason for that is there has been no comprehensive annual national survey since 2017.
In 2017, NHS Protect which had been collecting fairly reliable and detailed figures once a year, was disbanded. It was replaced by the NHS Counter Fraud Authority, and while the authority’s mission is a vital one, it does not include the same remit for workplace violence reduction or for raising general standards in security management as its predecessor had.

That gap is a problem, and is something that many in the profession, including NAHS, are keen to fix.

No accurate picture

Currently, the best data we have comes from limited sources such as the NHS Staff Survey. This is conducted annually but includes only a few general questions – “have you been subject to, or witnessed violence?” for example – and it is not mandatory. Therefore, it doesn’t give us an accurate picture of how many incidents there are each year across the NHS, or break those incidents down by month, week, or day, or show their severity or type.

What the 2021 survey did tell us was this: 14.3% of the 600,000 respondents said they had experienced at least one incident of physical violence from patients, service users, relatives, or other members of the public in the previous 12 months. A much higher level of abuse was reported in the ambulance sector, with almost a third of paramedics saying they had been subject to violence.

We can supplement this picture with data compiled annually by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and the Health & Safety Executive.
But while figures we have are limited in scope, they are still trustworthy sources and confirm what many frontline staff will tell you: that verbal and physical aggression continues to get worse.

Why aggression matters

This matters greatly. I am currently working on a new conflict resolution course for NHS staff and managers, and one of my biggest concerns is the impact of aggression on both individuals and teams. When a front-line health worker is subject to abuse, it not only affects them personally, it can have a negative impact on their close colleagues and as a result lead to lower standards of patient care.

Anecdotal evidence suggests very strongly that aggression has a significant impact on staff absences, on recruitment and on retention. I spent the first 30 years of my career in the police service, and I’ve dealt with some horrible things, but when I spend time with medics and see what they have to cope with, it’s much worse. If the reward for their dedication is to be abused or physically attacked, it’s not surprising if they go sick, or decide they need to change jobs altogether.
When you add to their stress with rising demand for services, staffing shortfalls, and continuing pressure on budgets – all of which we are now seeing – these risks culminate in a self-fulfilling downward spiral.

Just one anecdote from my personal experience shows what can happen when people, and systems, are under too much pressure: a mental healthcare nurse had a knife held to her throat by a patient, the patient escaped, was caught by the police, and eventually returned to the healthcare unit. The nurse wasn’t informed that the suspect had been apprehended, and when she came onto the ward the first person she saw was the man who had attacked her. Understandably, she was badly shaken by this experience. This should not have happened, and her trauma could have been prevented if she’d been warned in advance.
It’s nobody’s fault, but the consequence of a 24/7 conveyor-belt service where a significant turnover of managers can mean key details are not relayed from one shift to another, which can lead to additional challenges.

Looking for answers

So how can we prevent things becoming worse? We need better regulatory oversight, better reporting, and higher benchmarks for security training and education. We also need clearer protocols for dealing with incidents, more effective sharing of best practice – including around technology innovations – and better partnerships with other agencies, most obviously with the police.

These are all topics we’ll be discussing at the NAHS annual conference in November – which this year features an expanded programme of expert speakers.
For regular readers of IFSEC Global, I will also be looking at these issues in more detail in a series of quarterly articles on this site.
Watch this space. Until then – keep safe, and keep your people safe.

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The obstacles to staff safety and wellbeing in the NHS
Roger Ringham, Chair of the National Association for Healthcare Security (NAHS) discusses the barriers to safety and wellbeing for NHS staff. 

IFSEC Global

IFSEC Global | Security and Fire News and Resources

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Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Gunshot fired at Austin hospital bridge highlights health care violence – KXAN.com

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A bullet didn’t just break a glass window at Dell Seton Medical Center in Austin. For some, it also shattered their sense of safety.

“I’m working today during the busy holiday, and nobody from the hospital’s leadership team told any associates that this happened,” one person, who identified himself as an employee, told KXAN about the incident which took place on the Fourth of July. “Everyone that works here walks through that sky bridge. There isn’t even a security presence.”

KXAN spoke with the employee, who requested anonymity in order to speak candidly without fear of losing his job.

This incident highlights how health care workers, taught to “do no harm,” are forced to adapt to a new emergency: growing threats of violence.

On July 4 shortly after 9 a.m., a single gunshot was fired at the sky bridge connecting the parking garage on 15th Street to Dell Seton, according to the University of Texas at Austin Police Department.

No one was injured or, as of this week, arrested.

Photos sent to KXAN show a glass panel cracked in a spiderweb pattern covered by two thin strips of yellow caution tape. The American Hospital Association, or AHA, isn’t surprised.

“It’s very disheartening to say the least,” said John Riggi, formerly with the FBI and now a national advisor for cyber security and risk with the AHA, a trade group representing nearly 5,000 hospitals. “These acts of violence are despicable.”

  • cracked glass with caution tape around it
  • cracked glass
  • A cell phone with a notice about a shooting pulled up

‘A top-risk issue’

Six weeks ago, KXAN requested calls for service from Austin police for all area hospitals. We have yet to receive that data. However, a study in the National Library of Medicine found, since the start of the pandemic: 44% of nurses nationwide reported being subjected to physical assault and 68% experienced verbal harassment.

Nationwide, as of 2018, health care workers were five times more likely to experience workplace violence, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which found the trend has been steadily rising since at least 2011.

“Almost all hospital CEOs I speak to across the country now say, along with cyber threats, physical threats of violence against staff is a top-risk issue,” said Riggi.

Ascension, the parent company for Dell Seton Medical Center, said all managers were notified of the sky bridge incident and “advised to update their teams as needed.”

“We maintain a security presence at all our hospital facilities and continue to follow proper safety protocols to protect our associates, patients and their families,” Ascension Seton said in a statement.

In an unrelated incident, the hospital was placed on lockdown in June. Three suspects, one armed with a gun, ran inside the hospital and were arrested following a drive-by shooting. That same month, a mass shooting at a medical complex in Tulsa, Oklahoma left five people dead.

Last year, a gunman at a health clinic in Minnesota opened fire, killing one and injuring four people. In January 2021, Austin pediatrician Dr. Katherine Lindsley Dodson was murdered at Children’s Medical Group during a hostage standoff.

The rising violence prompted the AHA to send a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.

“For medical professionals, being assaulted or intimidated can no longer be tolerated ‘as part of the job,’” the letter said. “This unacceptable situation demands a federal response.”

  • The now-repaired sky bridge at Dell Seton Medical Center (KXAN Photo/Matt Grant)
  • The now-repaired sky bridge at Dell Seton Medical Center (KXAN Photo/Matt Grant)
  • The now-repaired sky bridge at Dell Seton Medical Center (KXAN Photo/Matt Grant)

‘Part of the job’

Following the gunshot that hit the bridge at Dell Seton Medical Center, the person who identified as an employee sent us photos — not just of the shattered glass, but from an internal presentation showing the hospital is stepping up security. Among the changes: adding 24/7 metal detectors and bulletproof glass in the emergency department, hiring more security, staffing the garage with a dedicated officer and installing security phones in the sky bridge.

Ascension would not confirm or deny any new security measures.

“Unfortunately, many health care workers now believe that sustaining physical attacks or assaults or threats or intimidation are now just part of the job,” said Riggi. “And we believe that should not be the case.”

On Capitol Hill, a new bill — the Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees (SAVE) Act — aims to stiffen penalties by making assaults against health care workers a federal crime. It was sent to the House Judiciary Committee in June. Ascension Seton said it is working with Sen. John Cornyn on the bill.

Reasons for increased violence against health care workers from the Association of American Medical Colleges
Reasons for increased violence against health care workers from the Association of American Medical Colleges

The AHA supports the bill as hospitals across the country beef up security, surveillance and active-shooter training.

“Dealing with the pandemic, dealing with cyber threats — the last thing they should have to worry about is threats of violence,” Riggi said.

A recent article written by the Association of American Medical Colleges attributes increased aggression to confusion over care, frustrations amid staffing shortages, political and social issues and mental health disorders.

In Texas, during the last legislative session, several bills failed to pass that would have allowed patients to carry handguns in hospitals. The Texas Hospital Association said health care settings are “simply no place for guns” and will work to prevent that.

“These incidents are reminders of why guns don’t work in hospitals and why we’ve worked so hard to preserve our gun-free environments,” said Carrie Williams with the THA. “Hospitals are supposed to be a safe place for healing, but difficult decisions are made daily inside our facilities and the addition of guns only escalate the chance for violence.”

The THA said it supports identifying patients as having a “history of violence when they are admitted to health care services” without violating their privacy.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith