EMMC Responds to Maine State Nurses Association's Request for Added Security in Emergency Department

04/23/2012

(Bangor) -- Like many hospitals across the United States, Eastern Maine Medical Center is seeing an increase in aggressive behavior in the Emergency Department. This past weekend Bangor Police responded to a call in the Emergency Department after a patient physically assaulted a nurse. Incidents, like the one that occurred, are not uncommon, and they can happen despite the security measures we take every day to make sure our employees, patients, and visitors feel secure while on our campuses. They also give us an opportunity to pause and reflect on the security measures we have in place, and look for opportunities where we can add layers to further keep employees, patients, and visitors safe.

"You may remember earlier this year, we started locking the doors between the Main Lobby at EMMC’s State Street campus and the Emergency Department as an added security layer to the security guard who is assigned to the Emergency Department 24 hours a day, and a Bangor Police officer who is on site daily, from 8 pm – 2 am," explains Deborah Carey Johnson, RN, president and CEO. "The added security is in response to employees’ concerns, and we hope it helps staff recognize the Emergency Department is as safe as we can reasonably make it, so the focus of the department remains, rightly, on high quality care of the sick and injured."

We are also continuing to look into a non-invasive metal detection system to scan patients and visitors arriving through the main Emergency Department entrance. Unfortunately, a non-invasive metal detection system would not have stopped the incident this weekend, but this too, would be another layer to keep patients, visitors, and employees safe.

The reality of caring for the sick is that disorientation, and even violence, sometimes are symptoms of the illness. We're committed to taking whatever steps we reasonably can to give our staff the protection and training to feel safe while maintaining access to care for our patients.