Hospital shootings rare, study finds

September 19, 2012|By Andrea K. Walker

A person is more likely to get struck by lightening than shot while at a hospital, according to new research by Johns Hopkins.

Investigators at Hopkins reviewed 11 years of data and found that 30 percent of hospital shootings occurred in emergency rooms. Nearly 50 percent of those shootings involved a security officer's gun - either stolen or used by a security.

The study looked at 154 shootings at hospitals, resulting in 253 deaths or injuries. The shootings were difficult to prevent because they involved a "determined shooter," said Dr. Gabe Kelen, M.D., the lead author of the report, and the director of the Johns Hopkins Department of Emergency Medicine.

The study found that most perpetrators had a personal relationship with victims. 

The report was published Sept. 18 in the online version of the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Common motives for shootings were grudge or revenge, suicide. and euthanizing an ill relative.

The report is published two years after a shooting at Hopkins. In that shooting, Paul Warren Pardus shot a doctor and then killed his ill mother and himself.

The Hopkins researchers said that specialized training for law enforcement and security personnel, such as proper securing of firearms, may prove a more effective deterrent to future shootings t han technologies, such as magnetometers.

They said no hospital is immune to a shooting.

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