According to the Boston Globe, a 42-year-old former surgical resident utilized a common courtesy - individuals holding the door for those following behind them - to infiltrate restricted operating room suites at Brigham and Women's Hospital:.
"As is the practice at many hospitals, Brigham operating room staff hold their identification badges in front of an electronic card reader to gain access to surgery suites. According to video surveillance and staff accounts, the woman tagged along behind employees during shift changes, slipping in as groups of operating room staff held the door for one another."
Fortunately, no harm to either patients or hospital occurred as a result of these incidents. This does, however, highlight the need for hospitals - particular those with large patient and staff populations - to be vigilant. Martin Green, president of the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety, stated that such acts - known as "tailgating" - are a common security issue for hospitals across the country.
Implementing extra security measures such as security cameras, electronic identification, additional security personnel and restricted areas, and stricter vetting of physician-sponsored visitors are effective ways to curb the problem of tailgating. Of course, educating physicians and staff to remain aware of who accesses operating rooms is vital, as well.
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