Hospital patient attempts suicide - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Hospital patient attempts suicide

January 5, 2007

Albany -- A patient at Palmyra Medical Center shot himself in the head early this morning. The man survived.  He was being treated for medical purposes, and according to police has attempted suicide before, but it raises the question, does there need to be more security at the hospital?

Hospitals are places where people go for healing.  But Friday, police say one man tried to end his life there. "He took a gun, and shot once to the head area," said Lt. James Williams  of the Albany Police Department.

Investigators say 66-year old Gary Tate of Albany shot himself just before 4:20AM.  A nurse walked in minutes later and smelled gun-powder, then saw the head wound, but apparently no one heard the gun blast. "Even patients around there, there was no knowledge of that," said Williams.

Eric Riggle, marketing director for Palmyra Medical Center says Tate was immediately treated and was transferred to the Critical Care Unit where he is now in critical, but stable condition. He says when the incident took place, Tate was alone in his room, and employees don't not know of any visitors. 

It appears that he brought the gun with him when he was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday. "When people come in for in-patient stays they are going to bring bags with clothes, toiletry kits, other such items that they would need here.  There would be no way to tell they had a small weapon of an sort in that bag."

And Riggle says the hospital doesn't plan to search everyone's bags. He says most people who come to the hospital want to get better. "You try to maintain the best security you can and people are here generally for a process of getting better and generally are not thing along any other lines."

There is always security at the hospital 24/7, and limited access to the building at night.

  Hospital administrators are reviewing their security policies to make sure they are doing everything needed. Investigators say Tate had previously tried to commit suicide and don't believe he had any intentions of hurting anyone else.

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