Hospitals take note of Columbus murders - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hospitals take note of Columbus murders

Posted: Updated:

 March 28, 2008

 Albany --  The anxiety and stress level at a hospital can escalate quickly. For that reason, both Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and Palmyra Hospital put special security measures in place to deal with situations.

We spoke with both hospitals to see what security steps they take to keep their patients and staff safe.  

Thursday's deadly shooting at Doctor's Hospital in Columbus got the attention of administrators at both Albany hospitals. Until last month, the hospital had been part of Palmyra's Health group and discussions over what happened and how to prevent future problems started right away.

"We've already begun doing that even as early as yesterday through E-mails, our division, North Florida division, of HCA has been holding discussion and trying to see what we can learn," said Palmyra Hospital C.O.O. David Nicely.

For Phoebe Putney, security has been a part of hospital planning from the design phase, planning the parking lots, and landscaping.

"There is a balance of a caring and a secure environment and trying to make certain that we have processes in place not only with some of the technology that we utilize.

Both hospitals use security cameras to monitor parking garages and hallways inside the hospital. Palmyra is getting new high definition cameras.

"They can zoom in 300 yards or so and read someone's name on their shirt or their badge they're going to be that high tech," said Nicely.

Palmyra also added proximity readers that only allow access to certain areas and Phoebe moves visitors through central locations and provides badges. It was a year and a four months ago that Palmyra had their own security scare when a patient used a gun to take his own life.

"That was a patient who had a suicide where we did not search their belongings and we still do not do that but our staff are trained on suicide risks with our patients," Nicely said.

Hospital administrators say their staff and doctors are often the first line of defense and both hospitals say they train workers to deal with tense situations.

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