Union calls for 'full investigation' of Western Psych shooting

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The president of the union representing 200 workers at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic called today for a "full investigation" into the shootings Thursday that ended after two people died and and seven were injured.

In a statement, Neal Bisno, who heads SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, asked for "measures be put into place to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again."

The union represents registered nurses, clerks, housekeepers and other employees at the psychiatric hospital.

"This violent assault is a stark reminder of the danger that healthcare workers can face at work," he said in the statement. "For each fatality, that there are literally thousands of non-fatal assaults perpetrated on our nation's healthcare workforce The health care sector has one of the highest incidences of nonfatal workplace attacks. The rate for behavioral health workers is even higher. We must do everything possible to protect those that care for us."

The union has reached out to UPMC to offer cooperation in any internal investigation as well as counseling to assist employees affected by the shooting.

"Yesterday was a tragic day for Pittsburgh and for healthcare workers," Mr. Bisno said. "Our prayers and thoughts are with all of the victims, their families, and the WPIC community."

Jonathan D. Silver: jsilver@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1962.


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