Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

Concealed Weapons and Children's Hospitals: A New Look at Safety in Our Changing World

Concealed Weapons and Children's Hospitals: A New Look at Safety in Our Changing World Given the events surrounding September 11, 2001, the world and especially those in emergency medicine will never look at the term 911 the same way again. Have the risks changed or are we just more attuned to the realities that have been evident for quite some time? We have come to realize that all aspects of our society are at risk for nonaccidental, inflicted injuries. Children and, in particular, children's hospitals are not immune. The safety of patients and staff has been addressed in emergency departments but these issues have been predominately limited to urban adult emergency departments.1-4 While many emergency departments have implemented improved safety measures, including the addition of security personnel, secured areas, and weapon (metal) detectors, there is a paucity of data concerning enhanced safety and security measures at our children's hospitals. In particular, as recently as 1998, reports suggest that as few as 6% of pediatric emergency departments used arch-style metal detectors.5 In addition, while metal detectors might give a negative connotation to the environment, families and staff seem to feel safer if they are used.6 While perception of safety may or may not correlate with actual improved safety, the recent events in this country have brought these issues to the forefront. Data from our urban children's hospital emergency department from January 2000 to August 2000 have shown an alarming number and scope of weapons confiscated following the implementation of arch-style metal detectors at the entrance to the hospital. While staff with proper hospital identification were not routinely screened, more than 260 potential metallic weapons were confiscated from patients and their families in just 8 months (all prior to September 11, 2001). No guns were confiscated but more than three fourths of the potential weapons (204 [78%] of 260) included cutting instruments such as knives, razors, box cutters, and scissors. Other commonly confiscated items included chemical sprays and construction tools. These data support the need for heightened security awareness, even in our children's hospitals. While metal detectors are only one form of deterrent, one should be aware that our most precious members of society are not immune from potentially dangerous situations, even in as sacrosanct environments as our children's hospitals. Recent events in our country and the prevalence of weapons in our society make this self-evident and should remind us not to underestimate the potential risks that exist at our children's healthcare facilities. This study took place at Hughes Spalding Children's Hospital, Grady Healthcare System, Atlanta. References 1. Taliaferro E Violence in the emergency department: a very real concern [editorial]. Ann Emerg Med. 1988;171248Google ScholarCrossref 2. Lavoie FWCarter GLDanzl DFBerg RL Emergency department violence in US teaching hospitals. Ann Emerg Med. 1988;171227- 1233Google ScholarCrossref 3. Blank CAMascitti-Mazur JE Violence in Philadelphia emergency departments reflect national trends. J Emerg Nurs. 1991;17318- 321Google Scholar 4. Pane GAWiniarski AMSalness KA Aggression directed toward emergency department staff at a university teaching hospital. Ann Emerg Med. 1991;20283- 286Google ScholarCrossref 5. Mattox EAWright SWBracikowski AC Metal detectors in the pediatric emergency department: patron attitudes and national prevalence. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2000;16163- 165Google ScholarCrossref 6. McNamara RYu DKKelly JJ Public perception of safety and metal detectors in an urban emergency department. Am J Emerg Med. 1997;1540- 42Google ScholarCrossref http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine American Medical Association

Concealed Weapons and Children's Hospitals: A New Look at Safety in Our Changing World

Concealed Weapons and Children's Hospitals: A New Look at Safety in Our Changing World

Abstract

Given the events surrounding September 11, 2001, the world and especially those in emergency medicine will never look at the term 911 the same way again. Have the risks changed or are we just more attuned to the realities that have been evident for quite some time? We have come to realize that all aspects of our society are at risk for nonaccidental, inflicted injuries. Children and, in particular, children's hospitals are not immune. The safety of patients and staff has been addressed...
Loading next page...
 
/lp/american-medical-association/concealed-weapons-and-children-s-hospitals-a-new-look-at-safety-in-our-4RvUxwFUjz
Publisher
American Medical Association
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
ISSN
1072-4710
eISSN
1538-3628
DOI
10.1001/archpedi.156.4.409
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Given the events surrounding September 11, 2001, the world and especially those in emergency medicine will never look at the term 911 the same way again. Have the risks changed or are we just more attuned to the realities that have been evident for quite some time? We have come to realize that all aspects of our society are at risk for nonaccidental, inflicted injuries. Children and, in particular, children's hospitals are not immune. The safety of patients and staff has been addressed in emergency departments but these issues have been predominately limited to urban adult emergency departments.1-4 While many emergency departments have implemented improved safety measures, including the addition of security personnel, secured areas, and weapon (metal) detectors, there is a paucity of data concerning enhanced safety and security measures at our children's hospitals. In particular, as recently as 1998, reports suggest that as few as 6% of pediatric emergency departments used arch-style metal detectors.5 In addition, while metal detectors might give a negative connotation to the environment, families and staff seem to feel safer if they are used.6 While perception of safety may or may not correlate with actual improved safety, the recent events in this country have brought these issues to the forefront. Data from our urban children's hospital emergency department from January 2000 to August 2000 have shown an alarming number and scope of weapons confiscated following the implementation of arch-style metal detectors at the entrance to the hospital. While staff with proper hospital identification were not routinely screened, more than 260 potential metallic weapons were confiscated from patients and their families in just 8 months (all prior to September 11, 2001). No guns were confiscated but more than three fourths of the potential weapons (204 [78%] of 260) included cutting instruments such as knives, razors, box cutters, and scissors. Other commonly confiscated items included chemical sprays and construction tools. These data support the need for heightened security awareness, even in our children's hospitals. While metal detectors are only one form of deterrent, one should be aware that our most precious members of society are not immune from potentially dangerous situations, even in as sacrosanct environments as our children's hospitals. Recent events in our country and the prevalence of weapons in our society make this self-evident and should remind us not to underestimate the potential risks that exist at our children's healthcare facilities. This study took place at Hughes Spalding Children's Hospital, Grady Healthcare System, Atlanta. References 1. Taliaferro E Violence in the emergency department: a very real concern [editorial]. Ann Emerg Med. 1988;171248Google ScholarCrossref 2. Lavoie FWCarter GLDanzl DFBerg RL Emergency department violence in US teaching hospitals. Ann Emerg Med. 1988;171227- 1233Google ScholarCrossref 3. Blank CAMascitti-Mazur JE Violence in Philadelphia emergency departments reflect national trends. J Emerg Nurs. 1991;17318- 321Google Scholar 4. Pane GAWiniarski AMSalness KA Aggression directed toward emergency department staff at a university teaching hospital. Ann Emerg Med. 1991;20283- 286Google ScholarCrossref 5. Mattox EAWright SWBracikowski AC Metal detectors in the pediatric emergency department: patron attitudes and national prevalence. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2000;16163- 165Google ScholarCrossref 6. McNamara RYu DKKelly JJ Public perception of safety and metal detectors in an urban emergency department. Am J Emerg Med. 1997;1540- 42Google ScholarCrossref

Journal

Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent MedicineAmerican Medical Association

Published: Apr 1, 2002

Keywords: hospitals, pediatric

References