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Rising violence shows hospitals should boost security, experts warn

Orlando Sentinel, June 1, 2011

Hospitals have long been considered sacrosanct — places for healing and helping — but they are no longer immune to America's increasing violence, experts say. "Hospitals at one time were much like churches and schools, and were considered somewhat sacred," said Bryan Warren, president-elect of the International Association of Healthcare Safety and Security. "Unfortunately, that's not the case anymore. In this post-Columbine and post-Virginia Tech world, things can happen anywhere." In the wake of Orlando surgeon Dmitriy Nikitin's murder last week — shot by a disgruntled patient as he walked from Florida Hospital's downtown building into the parking garage — security experts say doctors are increasingly the target of patients' ire. "Patients do target doctors more. We see case after case of this," said Russell Colling, a Colorado-based health-care-security consultant. "We live in an era where, if I have a problem, it's not my fault. In today's society, we think, 'Somebody's responsible for this, and it's not me.'"