WEDNESDAY, Aug. 22, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Adhering to a “secure, preserve, fight” strategy is recommended for health care professionals working with a vulnerable patient population, according to a Medicine and Society piece published in the Aug. 9 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Noting that health care facilities are high-risk targets and must be prepared as potential sites of active-shooter incidents, Kenji Inaba, M.D., from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues address the need to prepare a response suited to health care facilities.

The researchers note that a response directive designed for the lay public has been created by the Department of Homeland Security to mitigate the impact of an active-shooter incident, which focuses on training participants to run, hide, and fight. However, this response is not necessarily appropriate for health care facilities that house vulnerable patients and professionals who are not necessarily able to run, hide, and fight within the hospital setting, and have a moral and ethical duty not to abandon their patients. An alternative set of responses should be considered: securing the location, preserving the life of the patient and oneself, and fighting only when necessary.

“A ‘secure, preserve, fight’ strategy may allow health care providers to fulfill their ethical obligations to their patients while responding in a way that maximizes the odds of survival for both their patients and themselves,” the authors write.

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