Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Statement in Response to Sheriff Alex Villanueva Comments on Law Enforcement-Involved Shooting in Hospital

Below is a statement from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Acting Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anish Mahajan regarding the shooting of a patient in the hospital by law enforcement:

“During his October 14 news conference, Sheriff Alex Villanueva discussed the shooting of a psychiatric patient at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputy from the South Los Angeles Station and why the use of force was appropriate.  This deputy, who fired multiple shots at the patient, is not a member of the hospital’s on-site Sheriff’s unit and was assigned to provide security to another deputy who was an inpatient in a nearby room.

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center has a behavioral response team that is trained to safely de-escalate situations in which patients are experiencing significant behavioral health issues.  This team responds within minutes of being called and is activated daily to manage situations involving patients who are agitated and behaving aggressively or violently.  The hospital’s on-site, trained Sheriff personnel, while not part of the behavioral response team, are nearby and available to be called upon in the event the situation escalates beyond the clinical capability of the response team.  Behavioral events such as these involving appropriately trained personnel rarely result in law enforcement involvement and when they are called upon, have never resulted in the shooting of a patient at Harbor-UCLA.

As we always do when there is an adverse event, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center is reviewing all aspects of this incident to identify opportunities to prevent similar events in the future.  I would hope the Sheriff would similarly conduct an assessment of law enforcement’s actions into how they operate inside a hospital where trained behavioral response staff are present to manage these situations.”