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After Boston, is it time to rethink healthcare security?

I’m no healthcare security expert; I just write about it. So, someday, someone is going to have to explain to me how this stuff works.

Why is it that in this day of heightened security, it seems to be more difficult for me to get an appointment with my primary care doctor than it is for me to walk into a hospital with a gun, ask for a doctor by name, and then be able to walk into an exam room with him for a one-on-one meeting and shoot him?

The ease with which something like that can occur became startling clear to me earlier this week in my own city of Boston, when a man walked into Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and shot dead a cardiologist before turning the gun on himself and committing suicide.

Apparently the man was not happy with treatment that his mom had gotten at the hospital some time ago. Apparently, she had died despite the best efforts of doctors. This happens every day: it’s not lost on you as a healthcare professional that you can’t save everyone.

I was listening to the news on the radio on the way into work the morning after and the anchor asked the head of a Boston hospital association about metal detectors in hospitals.

“Do hospitals across the nation use metal detectors, and should Boston follow suit?” he asked.

I listened to the man say that no, no other hospitals across the nation use them, and Boston hospitals are looked at by others as a model.

That’s baloney. I can point you to hospital security experts in my source list in major metropolitan cities (Detroit is one of them) who have told me that metal detectors are a major step in the process of admitting patients and visitors, and making sure they don’t have weapons on them.

So I ask you – what’s your opinion? Is it time for a major overhaul of hospital security? Is it time to lay off the idea that hospitals shouldn’t have the feel of a fortress and start doing a better job protecting our healthcare workers?

I have to believe their lives are just as important as the patients’  lives.