SAGINAW (WJRT) (10/31/2017) - Covenant HealthCare is considering new security measures to keep weapons out of the Cooper Street hospital after a man fired a gun in his room earlier this month.
Arthur Kickland, 78, is accused of firing a handgun in his patient room after an altercation with staff members on Oct. 14. Staff were able to evacuate another patient and clear the room before the gunshot was fired, so nobody was injured.
But the incident served as a wake-up call for hospital administrators, who are looking at enacting policies to make sure nothing like that ever happens again.
"We do a lot of great things but there is still room for improvement," said Covenant spokeswoman Kristin Knoll.
Covenant HealthCare officials have spent a lot of time reviewing what went well and what the hospital can do better in responding to the incident and preventing it from happening again.
"Even in just the last year we've implemented $1 million in infrastructure, so lighting, camera upgrades, access with electronic badge readers," Knoll said.
More safety upgrades are being considered, including how patient belongings are handled.
"If they have a specific treatment plan, if they're on certain medications, what do we do with their belongings and is there a time that it's appropriate that perhaps we secure them?" Knoll said.
Covenant's legal team is researching the best way to negotiate the fine line between patient privacy and safety.
More metal detectors and a different plan for their use also are being considered, along with more training for staff.
"We're looking at the frequency and trying to make sure that all 4,800 staff are impacted and touched by training so that they feel prepared," Knoll said.
In fact, Covenant held active shooter training just a couple weeks before the shooting.
"Unfortunately things like this could happen anywhere," Knoll said. "It's not just a hospital issue, it's an issue that all businesses and public spaces face."
No final decisions have been made regarding additional security measures and hospital officials have no timeline for when any changes may be made.