I came into work today to find that three of my friends had nearly been killed when a car full of shot up young people crashed at Highland Hospital, according to the Tribune, probable victims of gang violence. I then was threatened by a group of six young men going up in the elevator to visit a “friend.” When I left the hospital at lunch there were four sheriff’s cars in front of the hospital, they had been called in to break up fights in the lobby.
All day the nursing floors of the hospitals were overrun with “friends” of the victims. I called Mr. Watts, the COO, he was in a meeting and his assistant didn’t know who was in charge. It wasn’t until the security, the sheriffs, and the Board of Supervisors had received dozen of complaints that we began to see security on the nursing floors and an attempt to limit visitors.
After five pm when I was leaving the hospital I saw a fight erupting in the lobby and had to go get security. More “friends” of the victims were parked in cars in the entrance to the hospital and still more were driving around the hospital.
I have worked at Highland for almost twelve years, I have seen a great deal of this kind of violence, but I have never witnessed such a complete failure of leadership and security. No administrator even came around to assess the situation much less manage it.
There are simple measures that can be taken to insure the safety of our patients and staff, since the Oakland Police Department feels this could be gang violence, maybe some executive could be torn away from an important meeting to work with staff on a plan to make sure that Highland does not become a crime scene.