How hospital lockdowns can affect patients' families

While hospital administrators across the nation argue full-facility lockdowns are necessary when victims of severe violence are being treated, the procedure also causes undue stress on the families and friends of patients who remain alone inside the hospital during the security protocol, NPR reports.

Louis Yogel, MD, chief of medical staff at Broward Health Medical Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., spoke with reporters who gathered outside the hospital the night of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February. He said at the time facility lockdowns, like the one issued at the hospital after those injured during the shooting were transported to the facility, are necessary to keep patients and staff inside the facility safe.

"In a time of crisis like this, it's better to have control over the situation," Dr. Yogel said at the time, according to NPR. "You have better control when you control who is coming in and who is coming out."

However, hospital administrators recognize the indirect consequence of such security protocols for patients' families, who may be separated from their loved ones during the incident.

"When you shut down access to a hospital, the people that you're keeping out are in this heightened emotional state. It's not uncommon for people to yell and be frustrated. We've seen scuffles in the parking lot," Alan Butler, president-elect of the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety, told the publication, adding that "sometimes, [hospitals] stay in these elevated lockdown stages longer than [they] need to."

Regardless, some hospital officials tout the importance of such security protocols because they hope such measures will aid them should a worst-case scenario arise: a suspect coming to the hospital to further harm victims or someone trying to retaliate against a perpetrator, the report states.

To access the full report, click here.

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