Hospital negligence can sometimes also happen outside of the hospital when a healthcare facility doesn’t proprely mitigate the risk of vehicular theft in front of its entrance. In a recent blog post, the Joint Commission is warning about reports of patients and other individuals who have been stealing ambulances, delivery vans, police cruisers snow plows and private cars that were left unoccupied and running in front of hospital entrances. According to the Joint Commission the risk is especially high for hospitals and healthcare facilities with a very active emergency department. Thieves are often patients who either are at the hospital under the supervision of a law enforcement agency, have substance abuse problems or mental health issues. Individuals with no links to the hospital or the patients have also been reported stealing unattended vehicles at hospital entrances. These types of incidents are extremely dangerous not only for the medical staff which can be injured when trying to stop the suspect or can be unwittingly kidnapped during the vehicle theft but also for pedestrians and road users who could be struck by a suspect attempting to flee.
The Joint Commission recommends that hospitals work with ambulance services, authorities as well as vendors and suppliers to make sure their vehicles are secured when left unattended in front of hospitals. Valet parking staff should receive specific training and security personnel should monitor locations where vehicles stop near entrances and exits. Signage reminding drivers to remove their keys from the ignition when their vehicles are unattended can also help mitigating the risk of vehicular theft.