Shooting Gives Hospital Violence Prime Time Attention

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , September 20, 2010

By now most readers are familiar with the murder-suicide last Thursday at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore that also left an attending physician with a serious gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Fortunately, at this writing, the victim, David B. Cohen, MD, a 45-year-old orthopedic surgeon, father of two young children, and all around "good friend and nice guy" to co-workers at the hospital, is expected to make a strong recovery.

If any sliver of good can be plucked from this mindless tragedy, it may be the raising of public awareness about the extent of violence in our nation's hospitals. Even before this latest attack, the issue of hospital violence had begun to be seen on the radar screen for the mainstream media.

The Associated Press, for example, wrote a widely distributed piece on the dangers faced by emergency department workers. Media outlets--including the major cable TV stations--scrambled for follow-up coverage of the Johns Hopkins shooting by putting a spotlight on in the latest violent incidents.
at hospitals.

The issue has gained enough prominence that even network television—that flawed mirror of our society—has taken up the issue. Grey's Anatomy dedicated its season finale this year to a shooting rampage at the hospital.

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