Chicago shooting reminds us we can't be complacent about hospital violence

The safety of our caregivers is always top of mind for us. That’s why it struck a nerve when we heard about the shooting at Mercy Hospital in Chicago, which killed a doctor, a pharmacist and a police officer. Our hearts go out to our colleagues at Mercy, and we send our sincerest condolences to the families of those who were killed. 

We know violence can happen anywhere. But the latest tragedy is a painful reminder that it is especially problematic in health care settings. Medical personnel are four times more likely to be the victims of workplace violence than anyone else – most often at the hands of patients and visitors who become hostile. This puts caregivers under tremendous stress. 

At Providence St. Joseph Health, we do not accept violence as the norm. We are committed to creating a safe environment and have been reviewing our policies and procedures to ensure the safety of our caregivers and those we serve. We also partner actively with the American Hospital Association on the Hospitals Against Violence campaign and are proud that hundreds of our caregivers participated in #HAVHopeFriday last June – standing in solidarity with thousands of other health care workers across the country to raise awareness of workplace violence.

Like so many workplace violence incidents and shootings, the attack in Chicago stemmed from domestic issues. Our employee assistance programs are a resource for any caregiver who feels unsafe at home. If you are a PSJH caregiver, we encourage you to become familiar with this resource and use it if you are in a situation where you need help and support.

Thank you to everyone who has participated in our preparedness drills, de-escalation trainings and other efforts to end violence. Together, we can ensure our ministries are the refuge and safe haven for healing and compassion that they are meant to be.

Rod Hochman, M.D.


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