Hawaii nurses are urging hospitals to take more steps to keep weapons out and protect patients and staff after a recent incident at Straub Medical Center in Honolulu, according to a report from HawaiiNewsNow.
In late March, hospital staff found a ghost gun and high capacity magazine inside a patient’s backpack that was left behind. According to the report, the man became irate and demanded to leave. Police arrested the man when he returned to look for the bag.
Members of a Hawaii nurse union said the incident is indicative of a growing problem. Guns, knives and machetes are among the weapons that have been recently confiscated in Oahu hospitals.
“It’s not an everyday thing. But it’s not an uncommon thing either,” Daniel Ross, RN, president of the Hawaii Nurses Association, told the news outlet, “There was an incident at Queen’s a few months back where the staff actually had to wrestle a loaded handgun out of a patient’s hand.”
The group is calling on hospitals to install metal detectors, conduct bag checks and consider hiring off-duty police officers to enhance security.
“There’s way too much violence against healthcare workers. There shouldn’t be any,” Mr. Ross said.
In a statement shared with the news outlet, Straub’s Chief Operating Officer Travis Clegg said the hospital is evaluating additional measures.
“The Hawaii Nurses Association has been involved in our review process. We continue to meet with and support our staff while reinforcing our existing security measures and evaluating additional technologies to further enhance safety. We are committed to keeping our medical center safe,” he said.
A spokesperson at Queen’s Health System, the state’s largest, told the news outlet it has “a number of security procedures in place, which include having our security teams conduct screenings in areas such as the Emergency Departments and ambulance bays,” and that the safety of patients and caregivers is “our highest priority.”