Wheeling Hospital installs metal detectors at ER entrance

Ohio County

Wheeling Hospital has upgraded its safety measures to protect patients, visitors and employees by installing metal detectors at the Emergency Room entrance.

“Implementing safety measures, especially those that have the ability to detect weapons, is a proactive measure, and an industry best practice,” hospital CEO Douglass Harrison said. “This can assist in reducing the possibility of tragic incidents happening.”

Wheeling Hospital is a firearm-free facility with the exception of on-duty law enforcement officers. Any person with a valid carry permit and found to be carrying a firearm will be asked to return the firearm to their vehicle.

All visitors, patients and employees, whether off or on duty, who are entering the building through the Emergency Room entrance are required to go through the metal detector each and every time they enter.

Patients entering with obvious life threatening emergencies are allowed to bypass the metal detector. Unconscious, critically ill or seriously injured patients need not be scanned. Patients arriving via ambulance enter through the ambulance area and will not pass through the detector.

While research further indicates metal detectors have no adverse effects on medical implants and pregnancies, patients with pacemakers or other medical issues may request to bypass the metal detectors and be scanned with a wand. Signage is available for patients meeting this medical condition. Anyone entering in a wheelchair or with the aid of a metallic walker or cane is scanned with a wand.

People activating the metal detector are asked to empty their pockets of all metallic objects and instructed to re-enter the detector. The metal detector will show zones of activity that indicate specific areas of the body where metal are present. If there’s a second activation, the officer conducts a scan with a wand. Subsequent activations will be handled on a case-by-case basis. The same applies to children, and any wand scans will be done in the presence of the parent/guardian/adult they are accompanying.

All baggage, brief cases, purses, backpacks, sacks, baby carriers, patient gifts, etc., are inspected for weapons by the security officer at the metal detection post. Anyone declining searches are not allowed to bring the articles into the facility and are asked to place the items back into their vehicle.

If illegal weapons, drugs, drug paraphernalia or other contraband is discovered, the security officer will contact the security supervisor immediately and request police assistance if needed. Anyone found to be in violation of state law or city ordinance for weapon offenses is subject to criminal charges. Illegal weapons will be confiscated and placed into police custody.

In addition to the metal detectors, other safety measures include having Wheeling Police Department personnel on site at the hospital 2 p.m. to 6 a.m. seven days a week. This security is in addition to the 24/7 presence of McKeen Security staff.

COVID-19 visitation restrictions also remain in place, with all visitors and staff required to wear masks in all areas of the hospital and observe social distancing. The Gift Shop and cafeteria remain closed to visitors.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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