New Jersey hospital adds security upgrades, training after patient dies by suicide

Mullica Hill, N.J.-based Inspira Health has ramped up security at its hospitals following a patient suicide earlier this year. 

Police were called to Inspira Medical Center in Vineland, N.J., on Sept. 9 on reports of an active shooter, and the hospital was locked down per its security protocol. Police determined the shooting was an isolated incident, and the health system confirmed the patient died after sustaining a self-inflicted gunshot wound while under the hospital's care. The patient, Michael Romanik, 57, was a retired Millville, N.J., police officer who suffered from a long-term, terminal ailment, police said, according to the Cherry Hill Courier-Post.

Inspira told Becker's on Nov. 29 that it has since "been continually upgrading physical security and entry systems, surveillance processes, hosting safety seminars and engaging in situational plans for each location. We're relentless about continuing to make this essential to our institutional DNA."

Inspira Health Network Vice President for Marketing Kathy Scullin-Marinelli told the Courier-Post the health system is also "continuing to train our clinical and administrative staff on awareness of risk factors and threat assessment, continuing to invest in technologies that help reduce exposure to critical incidents and are introducing new video training modules on situational awareness."

She added that "as caregivers, we are mindful that anytime a loved one or friend may share suicidal ideation that contacting the police is essential, as law enforcement has the ability to often skillfully intervene before a person takes their life."

The suicide took place about 8:30 a.m. in a room in Inspira Medical Center's intensive care unit, according to the Courier-Post. Workers evacuated the building or sheltered in place.

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline offers support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources. 

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