Violence in both community and county hospitals in the USA is increasing. It caused significant physical, emotional and economic hardship to many emergency department employees. We describe an incident that caused significant injury to an innocent bystander in a quiet upper-class community emergency department and outline procedures that hospitals and emergency department employees can take to combat this violence. Policy, procedures, planning and methods must be available for appropriately trained and equipped police officers to respond to such incidents. The effects of such violent episodes on the emergency department staff are discussed. Methods to prevent such incidents are presented.
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