Safety

Suspect charged with mother’s murder after New Hampshire hospital shooting

Hospital Safety Insider, September 13, 2017

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Police swarmed Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., on Tuesday in response to an active shooter situation that left one patient dead

An active shooter situation at a New Hampshire hospital ended Tuesday with one ICU patient dead and a man in custody, accused of murdering his own mother.

Authorities said Travis Frink, 48, of Warwick, R.I., entered the hospital about 1:15 p.m. with one target: 70-year-old Pamela Ferriere, of Groton, N.H., who was a patient in the fourth-floor ICU at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, according to local media outlets. Nine minutes later, Frink allegedly fired multiple shots, sending the facility into crisis mode.

The hospital was evacuated as more than 100 emergency responders converged on the area, WMUR-TV reported. Frink was arrested shortly before 3 p.m. just south of the hospital campus, but police continued searching the building and parking lots to ensure that there was no additional threat.

“They’re literally going from room to room to make sure that this is an isolated incident like we believe it is,” Lebanon police Capt. Timothy Cohen said Tuesday afternoon, the Concord Monitor reported.

After police confirmed that the threat had ended, hospital staff were permitted back into the building about 5 p.m., and the public was allowed back in about 5:45 p.m.

In a memo posted to Twitter, Dartmouth-Hitchcock chief executive Joanne Conroy, MD, thanked hospital staff for responding as they were trained.

“Many of you sheltered in place and others evacuated the buildings with patients and family members,” Conroy wrote.

“This is not an event that we can anticipate or prevent…but that is why we drill and train,” she added. “The Lebanon campus is safe. We will of course debrief over the next week to better understand how we could improve our preparation and response.”

The shooting at Dartmouth-Hitchcock adds to a spate of recent headlines demonstrating that there’s no reason to think a healthcare facility is immune to attack, as HCPro’s Medical Environment Update reported in its September edition. Two nurses at an Illinois hospital were held hostage for hours and assaulted at gunpoint in May, and a doctor formerly employed by Bronx-Lebanon Hospital in New York City returned to the facility with a rifle in June, killing one physician and wounding six other people.

“If you have not done an active shooter drill, you’re behind the curve,” Mike Marturano, MS, safety officer for St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota, told healthcare safety professionals during the NFPA Conference & Expo in June.

For more on ensuring that your organization is prepared, be sure to check out The Active Shooter Response Toolkit for Healthcare Workers by Lisa Terry, CHPA, CPP.



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