Apparent suicide at Valley View
August 5, 2014
A man apparently shot himself to death Monday morning in a public restroom at Valley View Hospital.
No one heard the shot, according to Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson. He said maintenance was called to unlock the door to the men's room in a hallway between the emergency room and radiology, and a hospital employee discovered the body in one of the stalls. Hospital workers called police around 11:30 a.m.
The dead man's identity had not been released by Monday evening, but he does not appear to have been an employee, patient or family member with business at the hospital.
The public hallway adjacent to the restroom was temporarily closed, but otherwise the hospital remained open throughout the day. No one else was injured.
"The security of our staff, patients and visitors has not been in jeopardy," Community Relations Executive Director Stacey Gavrell wrote in a statement Monday afternoon.
"Valley View staff and security did a great job," added Wilson. "Everyone had done just exactly what we would have asked them to."
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Valley View Hospital, which has a private security company on site, will conduct a comprehensive safety review, Gavrell said.
Like almost all hospitals, Valley View does not require visitors to pass through security, which is considered impractical for hospitals. Valley View has had no comparable incidents before, but prepares workers for a range of scenarios.
"We take safety so seriously," said Gavrell, "It's something we are constantly training for." That includes "tabletop drills" of emergency scenarios ranging from wildfires to people with guns. The hospital had already planned an active shooter drill for this fall.
Counseling was made available for employees after the incident.
Hospitals are becoming more dangerous, according to statistics from the International Healthcare Security and Safety Foundation. The foundation found a 25 percent increase in violent crime at American hospitals between 2012 and 2013. In the United States, between 5 and 6 percent of roughly 30,000 annual suicides occur in hospitals, according to 2003 report in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.