Pressurized, with emotions flowing and the problems of the street coming inside, hospital emergency departments are also an area of security concern. There are examples that are growing in number of tragic endings. In September, a gunman shot a doctor at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and then killed himself and his mother. A man broke a chair and used one of its legs to beat a nurse at a Valley Stream, N.Y. hospital. That nurse needed eye surgery. Back in February, a gunman opened fire in an emergency department in a Laurinburg, N.C., hospital after participating in a bar fight.
A survey discovered that more than half of emergency nurses had been spit on, pushed, scratched and verbally assaulted on the job. One in four of the nearly 3,500 emergency room nurses reported being assaulted more than 20 times in the past three years, according to the Emergency Nurses Association. And the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates there are 2,600 non-fatal assaults on hospital staff each year.