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Local hospitals say they’re prepared in case of violence

By Brett Bullen [1]

BELLEVILLE – With two shootings in nearby hospitals – Cobourg and Kingston – over the past 13 months, Quinte Health Care has prepared to deal with any violent situations that may occur in one of its hospitals, including an active shooter.

The Kingston shooting [2] occurred Monday evening at Kingston General Hospital. According to police, inmate Cory Ryan Ward was receiving treatment for injuries at Kingston General Hospital when he fired two gunshots, injuring another patient.

Ward had been co-operative with the two correctional officers escorting him and was allowed to have his handcuffs and leg restraints removed so he could use the bathroom, Kingston police say. But after coming out of the bathroom, and before the officers could put his restraints back on, Ward was able to remove one officer’s gun from its holster. Before the officers could restrain Ward, two shots were fired, one hitting another patient in the leg. Ward is facing several charges, including three of attempted murder, police say.

Here in Belleville, Quinte Health Care has plans to deal with violent situations in its four hospitals, says manager of security services Dave Pym.

“We are lucky to have both OPP and hospital security working together on these plans,” Pym told QNet News Tuesday.

Asked what would happen if something similar to the Kingston incident happened at Belleville General Hospital. Pym said the hospital uses a “code purple” for active-shooter, weapon and hostage situations. However, it has been working on a “code silver,” which is what KGH used in the incident on Monday.

“Code silver more specifically refers to an active shooter or weapon, which can help staff and the police act more accordingly,” said Pym. “The work on code silver began before the incident in Cobourg” in October 2017, when a woman was killed in a shooting there and the man who shot her was subsequently killed by police. On Wednesday, Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit announced that it had finished its investigation of that incident and no criminal charges would be laid against the Cobourg police officers involved in the shooting.

Pym declined to provide specifics about how the hospital handles potentially dangerous patients, but noted BGH rarely sees the number of such patients that Kingston does.

“We do have discussions with the clinical team when specialty patients do come in, to make sure we are addressing the situation properly,” he said.

There have been no conversations yet about how procedures can be updated following the incident in Kingston, Pym said. Security staff are still waiting for the investigation to conclude before making any decisions, but he plans to take a “substantial look at the situation,” he said.

More to come.