The death of Michael Davidson, MD, has stirred debate regarding the use of metal detectors in healthcare facilities to protect physicians and staff against violence. Dr. Davidson was a 44-year-old assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and director of endovascular cardiac surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; he was fatally shot on Tuesday and had treated the mother of the gunman. Stephen Pasceri, the man who shot Dr. Davidson twice outside his office at the Brigham, had publically asked then-Senator John Kerry to conduct an investigation into his father’s $8,100 medical bill after a short, unnecessary hospital stay in 2011. Pasceri’s 78-year-old mother died two months ago and had allegedly experienced complications after receiving care from Dr. Davidson.

There are presently no metal detectors at the Brigham, leading some to question if additional measures are needed to ensure the safety of healthcare professionals. It is speculated hospital will instead educate their staff on what to do during a shooting or other dangerous scenario due to the high cost of installing metal detectors and guards at all entrances and exits. For Dr. Davidson, these efforts will be too late but may prevent further tragedies in healthcare facilities.

Should learning how to survive a hospital shooting be part of a clinician’s training?

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