Montana health system reexamines safety protocols after surgeon's wife threatened, house set on fire

Days after a disgruntled patient allegedly burned down the house of an orthopedic surgeon who works for Benefis Health System, the Great Falls, Mont.-based system is reexamining its safety protocols to better protect clinicians and staff.

According to the Great Falls Tribune, David Delbert Herron, a former patient of Michael Dube, MD, entered the surgeon's home April 10 when Dr. Dube's wife Adrienne was present. He allegedly held Ms. Dube at gunpoint before she escaped unharmed. Mr. Herron then burned Dr. Dube's house to the ground before killing himself in the backyard. Dr. Dube was performing surgery during the incident.

Dr. Dube told the Tribune Mr. Herron had previously blamed him for experiencing back pain.

In response to the incident, Benefis is looking over its emergency situation policies.

"In light of this horrid and tragic event we are reviewing our policies and procedures related to emergency situations to see if there are any improvements we can make," Benefis CEO John Goodnow said in an email to the Great Falls Tribune. "While we certainly hope we never have a serious emergency on our campus, we want to be prepared should that unthinkable event ever happen."

The health system already has safety protocols in place, including training employees to handle active shooter situations and other breaches of security during orientation. Benefis also recently redesigned its aggressive behavior management program, according to the Great Falls Tribune.

After the April 10 event, Great Falls' medical community and police department met to continue the conversation about security measures. Benefis is working with law enforcement and medical staff to guide future safety plans.

"We are continually reviewing and revising our processes and policies based on the best practices in the industry," Louis D'Antuono, a safety-security specialist with Benefis, told the Great Falls Tribune.

Read more about the incident and Benefis' response here.

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