FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The South Carolina Hospital Association hosted a webinar with members about violence in health care settings after two hospital shootings occurred this week. One was in the emergency department of the Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg and another inside Prisma Health Laurens County Hospital.
McLeod Health Emergency Management officials were included in the webinar and are taking the matter seriously.
“We have reviewed our emergency operations plan, and our persons with a weapon plan, our leadership has met with security teams and ER staff. We have heightened alertness and awareness to everybody,” said McLeod Corporate Director of Emergency Management, Michael Puckett.
At McLeod, all employees receive active shooter training from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. Puckett called it their “Person With A Weapon Plan,” because dangers don’t always happen with a gun, he said.
In the case of an active shooter, McLeod employees are taught to run as far away from the situation as they can, to hide in one of the designated areas or to fight back if there is no other option.
“You have to survive the incident to be able to come back and continue medical care. If my nurses just stood there and stayed with a patient every minute of every day, they probably wouldn’t survive the incident,” said Puckett.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported that serious workplace violence is four times more common in the health care industry. On Thursday, the South Carolina Hospital Association talked with members about how to report violent incidents and create a culture where employees are comfortable talking about them.
South Carolina is one of three states in the nation without legal protections in place for health care workers according to the SCHA.
Earlier in the year, two bills presented in South Carolina’s General Assembly would increase the penalties for someone who harms a health care employee while at his or her job. State Representative Eddie Tallon sponsored the House bill.
Attacking a health care employee would be assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature under the bill. The felony could result in up to 20 years in prison.
For individuals who have never experienced an active shooter situation, it can be difficult knowing how to react.
“A bigger person might be able to subdue the person that’s doing the crime. You don’t know until the situation comes,” said Bruce Lavrinc.