This week, a gunman opened fire on the campus of Mercy Hospital in Chicago. In the end, four were killed, including an ED physician, a pharmacy resident, a police officer and the shooter himself. Mass shootings in America are horrifying, and yet seem to be in the headlines almost weekly. These acts of violence can truly happen anywhere, at any time.
While each of these episodes is crushing, this most recent shooting has come to the doorstep of the health care community. Hospitals are places of compassion, where caregivers attend to anyone who walks through the door, regardless of their circumstances. Hospital staff witness firsthand the effects of violence, which can be intensely traumatic. This latest act of senseless violence also serves as a sobering reminder that health care and social service professionals are at the highest risk of becoming the victims of violence themselves.
Nobody should have to fear for their safety just by going to work. At WSHA, reducing violence is one of our top legislative and safety priorities. We support legislation that makes our hospitals safer for patients and caregivers. We provide resources to members that can be used to reduce violence in their facilities. We partner with the American Hospital Association to raise awareness about violence through work such as the Hospitals Against Violence campaign.
Our members have taken up similar work, such as CHI Franciscan Health, which this year we awarded with our Community Health Leadership Gold Award for its Violence Prevention Initiative, and Kaiser Permanente, which earlier this year invested $2 million in research to prevent gun injuries and death.
Only by taking these kinds of steps — and by taking them together — can we hope to reduce violence in our communities and workplaces. We hope you will join us in building a safer future for our communities.
WSHA President & CEO