Essentia to add new weapons screening at St. Mary’s emergency department

Outside view of Essentia's new St. Mary's Medical Center overlooking Lake Superior
Outside view of Essentia's new St. Mary's Medical Center overlooking Lake Superior(Northern News Now)
Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 12:23 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - A Duluth hospital is stepping up its safety procedures towards weapons in the emergency department (ED).

Essentia Health is implementing a new safety screening process at the new St. Mary’s Medical Center ED.

The new process will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 26.

Officials say anyone who uses the primary ED entrance will have a weapons screening.

The screening process involves standing on a special mat and turning slowly for 15 seconds.

Visitors will be asked to place their personal items on a nearby shelf for inspection before stepping onto the mat.

Any prohibited items, such as pepper spray, guns, or knives, must be left in a locked vehicle.

Hospital leaders say they are not able to store and return weapons that are handed over during screening and the security team will dispose of them.

In a statement, hospital leaders said the following:

“Screening for weapons is a part of safety protocols at hospitals around the country. The process is similar to what you encounter when entering other public venues, such as courthouses, airports, or concerts.

Essentia is proactively working to ensure the safety of our patients and staff after shootings in healthcare facilities around the country in recent years.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare workers’ risk of injury due to workplace violence is five times greater than that of workers in other industries.

In the event that a patient needs immediate care, our Security team will conduct a screening with a hand-held wand when caregivers say it is medically appropriate. We thank patients and visitors for their understanding and for helping to keep Essentia safe.”

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