Western Psychiatric security must be improved
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Regarding "Receptionist at Shick Rampage Said She Had Asked About Barrier" (Aug. 28): I share the concerns of workers at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic regarding their safety. These concerns also apply to visitors to WPIC like me; I make frequent visits to see a family member.
In some respects WPIC has less security than Shadyside or Mercy hospitals. Security guards stand near the hospital receptionist's desk, but they merely question visitors about the reason for their visit. There is no metal detector or search of belongings. The receptionist sits at an open counter in full view of the front door. Nurses and therapists perform metal detector scans to allow access to patient rooms, but this happens only after visitors have already entered the hospital and gone to patient care floors.
The emergency room does employ a metal detector and a belongings search, but, again, that occurs after entering the emergency room. Shadyside and Mercy require these procedures prior to entering their emergency rooms.
Modest changes could help. There is space outside the emergency room that could accommodate a security station. A security check could occur at the main entrance. A bullet-proof barrier could be installed on the portion of the receptionist desk that faces the doors. These adjustments would help control access. They would also place more responsibility for safety on security staff and less on patient care professionals.
First Published August 31, 2012 12:00 am