Mont. Hospital Reviewing Security after Patient Burns Doctor’s House Down

The former patient was upset about a back surgery conducted by the doctor.

Officials at Benefis Health System in Montana are considering increasing security after a suicidal patient allegedly burned a surgeon’s house to the ground April 10.

Officials said that although the traumatic incident is an outlier, emergency procedures may be updated, reports the Great Falls Tribune.

Police believe former patient David Delbert Herron broke into Dr. Michael Dube’s home and held his wife at gunpoint as he started a fire that eventually burned the house to the ground. Michael’s wife Adrienne managed to escape the house and get to a neighbor’s residence. Herron died in the fire.

Herron blamed Dube, who works for Benefis Health, for back pain he’d suffered from for more than 25 years. Dube was one of several doctors that operated on Herron after he was injured falling off a roof in 1991.

“In light of this horrid and tragic event we are reviewing our policies and procedures related to emergency situations to see if there are improvements we can make,” Benefis CEO John Goodnow said.

RELATED: Man Saved After Setting Himself on Fire in Detroit Hospital

Hospital officials and the Great Falls Police Department said they’ve been discussing and implementing security changes at the healthcare facility for years, but the incident has brought a sense of urgency to those developments.

Benefis currently has panic buttons installed across its campus and limits access to sensitive areas of its facilities. The hospital also has a security department and an Environment of Care Committee that reviews security incidents and identifies areas for safety improvements.

The hospital’s security staff members work closely with local law enforcement agencies, participating in community training sessions including a recent active shooter drill, according to Benefis Safety-Security Specialist Louis D’Antuono.

A 2016 Labor Department report shows that workers in the health care and social assistance industries suffer work injuries more than any other industry group in the country.

In Montana, an average of 272 of such workers were assaulted by patients and had to miss work between 2011 and 2014. There were 63,352 employees in Montana’s private health care and social assistance industry in 2014.

Read Next: Mitigating Workplace Violence at Ambulatory Care Sites

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