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Tulsa Shooting Shows Hospital Security Vulnerabilities

Hospitals, like schools, are not typically designed to guard against the threat of a determined gunman entering the building to take lives, the Associated Press reports. The vulnerability of health care facilities was highlighted by a shooter who killed four people and then himself Wednesday at a hospital in Tulsa. The assailant got inside a building on the Saint Francis Hospital campus with little trouble, just hours after buying an AR-style rifle. Michael Louis, 45, of Muskogee, Ok., parked his car in an adjoining garage, then went through unlocked doors into the medical building. “It is an entry that is open to the public,” said Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin. “He was able to walk in without any type of challenge.” It was a short walk from that entrance to the office area where Louis fatally shot his primary target, Dr. Preston Phillips. Police said Phillips recently performed surgery on Louis and that Louis blamed the doctor for chronic pain he continued to suffer.

Cliff Robertson, CEO of Saint Francis Health System, said nothing can stop somebody with guns “hellbent on causing harm.” Robertson said the facility has procedures to deal with “difficult, unhappy patients,” though he did not elaborate. Hospital officials planned to review their security procedures. There “will be a thousand questions” to answer regarding the shooting, Robertson said. From 2000 to 2011, there were 154 hospital-related shootings, according to a 2017 guide from the International Association of Emergency Medical Services Chiefs that cited the Annals of Emergency Medicine. Nearly sixty percent of those shootings were inside hospitals, and around 40 were outside on hospital grounds.


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