If you go to a hospital emergency room, the odds are good that you're already having a crisis -- one that can only be compounded if the hospital itself turns out to be a place of danger instead of a place of safety and healing.
Unfortunately, many hospitals emergency rooms are far from safe, and the security may not be up to the task of protecting either the staff or patients.
Hospitals emergency room violence is on the rise, particularly in urban areas, for a variety of reasons:
-- The increased presence of gangs.
-- Long patient waits in crowded, unpleasant conditions.
-- Drug addiction and alcohol abuse among patients.
-- The use of emergency rooms for the "medical clearance" of drug and alcohol related-arrests.
-- More private citizens who are armed.
-- More mentally ill patients who are flooding the system.
Keep in mind, hospitals are highly aware of these dangers, while most patients are not. Studies have shown that emergency rooms tend to be the most dangerous areas, with over 70 percent of nurses reporting physical or verbal assaults. It's also well-documented that most of the violence tends to occur between 11 at night and 7 in the morning.
If there's a patient or visitor that's out of control or violent, that patient or visitor is dangerous to everyone in his or her vicinity -- not just the doctors and nurses. It's important that the hospital has a plan of action in place to protect patients that may be helpless and unable to do anything to protect themselves.
That means that hospitals should have more active security on guard at night, during the most dangerous hours. Procedures like coded wristbands, panic buttons, and controlled access points could help keep dangerous or mentally unstable people away from patients. A secured area for patients brought in by police would help keep other patients safer. Increased training, focused on identifying and responding to risks could help reduce the danger to patients. So would increasing the security training that's given to all hospital staff.
If you were injured by another patient while you were at a hospital and you believe that there were inadequate security measures in place to protect you, talk to an attorney today about the possibility of a lawsuit. For more information on how we handled these kinds of claims, please visit our site.