Safety

Preparing and educating your facility for gang violence

Hospital Safety Insider, August 25, 2016

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"Not in our hospital" and the common misconception that hospitals are considered neutral territory for gangs are two mindsets regarding gangs and gang-related violence that need to be changed. Gang violence is a societal issue that doesn't stop at the hospital doors.

Across the country, gang members enter hospital emergency rooms on a daily basis as victims of shootings, stabbings, and beatings, as well as for non-violence-related medical needs. Many are admitted for short- or long-term care. Often accompanying these patients are fellow members of their sects. If a rival gang injured the patient, there is always the chance that adversary gang members will come to the hospital to finish the job. While these types of incidents are rare, they do occur.

Several years ago at a Baltimore hospital located in an urban area populated with various gangs, a gang member presented himself to the emergency room as the victim of a beating by rival gang members. The patient suffered head trauma from a baseball bat. Not long after the patient entered the ER lobby, a rival gang member entered carrying a baseball bat and began striking the patient with the bat. As security and police responded, the assailant ran from the ER.

As recently as November 2011, a 29-year-old member of the Burnside Money Getters was arrested for opening fire in a Bronx hospital ER lobby. The gang member, in an attempt to finish off a member of the Riverpark Towers Crew who was seeking treatment for injuries sustained in an earlier gang altercation, entered the ER and discharged a handgun several times. The intended target was not struck. However, a 37-year-old nurse and a 42-year-old security guard received non-life-threatening gunshot wounds.

To deal with the potential for gang violence, we first need to understand why gangs exist, the gang culture, and the continuing gang threat.

This is an excerpt from the monthly healthcare safety resource Briefings on Hospital Safety. Subscribers can read the rest of the article here. Non-subscribers can find out more about the journal, its benefits, and how to subscribe by clicking here.
 



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