Safety

Patient threatens, doctor slain, but no finding for unsafe work conditions

OSHA Healthcare Connection, March 9, 2010

The fatal shooting of a physician by a patient in Kentucky medical clinic has police, workplace safety regulators, and healthcare workers pondering when disgruntled patients pose real threats for workplace violence.

On December 8 Dr. Dennis Sandlin was fatally shot in the Cornettsville clinic of Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation, allegedly by a patient who was denied a prescription because he would not submit to a urine screen, according to a report obtained by the Lexington Herald Leader, March 6. Witnesses told the investigators that the patient vowed to return, but the clinic explained to investigators that it declined to press charges after the initial visit, according to the newspaper’s report.

Even though the clinic has a policy to prosecute “persons threatening or engaging in such acts against staff members,” the Kentucky Labor Department declined to issue a citation or fine to the employer, reports the Lexington Herald Leader.

For more on this story, see the featured post on the OSHA Healthcare Advisor.

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