Brigham officials say they were prepared for active shooter situation

BOSTON ( -- Officials at Brigham and Women's Hospital say they've trained staff to respond to scenarios like Tuesday's, when a shooter entered the Shapiro Cardiovascular Center and shot a doctor, then shot and killed himself.

Experts say that training may have saved lives.

Although there is no single approach to hospital security in a situation like this, since the attack at Massachusetts General Hospital in 2009, Boston police have worked extensively with local hospitals to come up with specialized plans that suit how and where they work.

"We think of that as thinking the unthinkable," one hospital official said Tuesday. "We were one of the first hospitals in the country to initiate broad scale training for all of our staff."

That sort of preparedness is protocol now at all Boston hospitals.

"They are constantly doing active shooter training throughout Boston police, working with our private security partners to do that," said former Boston Police Superintendent-in-Chief Daniel Linskey.

"There's no cookie-cutter solution to this," he said. "One unit on a floor might be able to do one thing. Another unit might be able to  move patients so those units have to know what they do during their crisis and how it relates to their unit, their patients and their staff."

Training for active shooting became standard in 2009 after an attack at Mass. General Hospital.

In 2013, it protected patients during a shooting at Mass. Eye and Ear.

"You make a decision if you can save that patient and take them with you you do that, if the safest thing would be to stay with that patient and shelter with that patient and put things up against the door and be prepared to fight if necessary you do that," Linskey said.

Officials say there's no fail-safe prevention.

"There is no amount of preparation that anyone can do that completely eliminates the prospect of any of this kind of tragic event happening," the hospital official said.

But practice can increase protection.

"Knowing what to do and reiterating it over and over again is how you best minimize loss of life in these incidents," Linskey said.

There were no metal detectors at Brigham and Women's Shapiro Center, which is standard at area hospitals. But today the Massachusetts Nurses Union said they have pushed for metal detectors for years.


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