As you likely know, a gunman opened fire at Northside Family Medicine and Urgent Care in Atlanta this week. One person was killed and several others injured; reportedly, none were workers in the urgent care center. A suspect was arrested after an hours-long manhunt. Multiple media sources suggested that the accused was seeking care in the facility. The New York Timesquoted the alleged perpetrator’s sister as saying her brother is “not mentally stable,” while his mother told Fox 5 Atlanta he “had some mental instability going on” related to an unnamed medication he had been taking and, in addition, was upset because Veterans Administration providers had refused to prescribe him medications for anxiety and depression. The events are too recent for there to be a clear picture of what was going on in the urgent care center as events unfolded—whether there was any warning before the shooting started, where staff members were, or what witnesses might have seen and heard. In addition to dealing with the trauma of it all and getting the facility back in good order, it seems likely that members of the UC team will be called upon to help law enforcement and prosecutors understand what happened. Given patient confidentiality standards, this could be a dicey proposition. This fine line between medical ethics and civic responsibility was covered in an article published by JUCM, entitled Law Enforcement and Healthcare: When Consent, Privacy, and Safety Collide.
Picking Up the Pieces After Gunfire and Death Descend on an Urgent Care Center