London hospital tightens safety after assault on physician at work

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Officials at the London Health Sciences Center say they will issue personal panic alerts to more staff following an attack that seriously injured one of their doctors.

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June 19, 202223 minutes ago2 minutes read Join the conversation Victoria Hospital in London.

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Officials at the London Health Sciences Center say they are will issue personal panic alerts to more employees after an attack in which one of his doctors was seriously injured.

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The move is one of several new “enhanced security measures” that officials say the hospital, the largest in southwestern Ontario, is evaluate after a man attacked an anesthetist at Victoria Hospital on May 5.

That day, hospital security personnel were alerted just before 2pm after a man with a knife and hammer passed through the check-in desk and attacked a hospital worker. London police said at the time it was not the worker’s injuries life threatening.

Police also said the suspect, who was overpowered by security forces, and the injured hospital worker did not know each other, suggesting the attack was accidental. It is not yet known how far the suspect got to the hospital before he was grabbed by security forces.

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“Fortunately, this incident is not part of a pattern,” a hospital spokesman wrote in a statement emailed to The Free Press. “However, it has had an impact on our employees and we are committed to ensuring everyone is safe within our walls.”

Before the attack, some LHSC staff used personal panic alarms, which allowed them to alert hospital security to a dangerous situation with the push of a button. The distribution of the devices was determined by the area in which the employees worked, officials said.

The hospital did not provide any information on how far the distribution of personal panic alarms would progress. The hospital also has “accelerated workplace violence training for all staff,” the spokesman added.

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Other security measures at LHSC include surveillance cameras, security surveillance phones throughout the hospital, and “entry control officers” at all entrances.

Steven McCaw, president of OPSEU Local 106, a union representing some hospital workers, did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Matthew James Brooks, 35, is charged with aggravated assault and two counts of failing to comply with the terms of his release, which prohibit him from carrying a knife except when eating or when needed for work.

Brooks’ neighbors and landlord said he struggled with mental health issues. He has been in custody since his arrest and is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

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