PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A hospital in Portland, Oregon said it is changing security protocols after a Black patient accused of trespassing was held by security last week.
The Oregonian/Oregon Live reports that Legacy Health said security officers will no longer handcuff or arrest potential trespassers in non-violent situations at its medical centers.
“Safety and treating every patient and employee with dignity, respect, and compassion is our number one priority at Legacy Health. We take this matter very seriously and are in the process of conducting a full and swift investigation,‘’ Gretchen Nichols, president of Legacy Health’s Columbia Region, said in a statement Monday.
The hospital declined to discuss details of the incident, citing patient privacy concerns, but confirmed that a patient at the hospital was arrested about 5:30 p.m. Thursday on suspicion of trespassing.
Initial reports from hospital workers indicated the woman had been a patient in Legacy Emanuel Medical Center’s emergency room who refused to leave after her discharge because she said she had not received all of her belongings.
The woman was then handcuffed and held at the entrance for about an hour while hospital security officers waited for Portland police to make the trespassing arrest, the Oregonian/Oregon Live reported.
The woman was eventually let go by the hospital after its workers informed supervisors about the issue. The Oregonian/Oregon Live said the incident was seen by hospital workers and passersby who complained to the medical center and documented it with photos.
The newspaper also posted a photo showing a man wearing a security uniform next to a woman who appears to have her hands behind her back.
Nichols said in an email to staff the next day that the hospital system had changed its security protocols, launched an investigation and reached out to the patient.
“First and foremost, our patient relations team is reaching out to the patient to listen, hear what happened from the patient’s perspective, and to offer immediate and continued support for their safety and wellbeing,” Nichols said in the email.