This article is over 4 years old


Hospitals Need Different Response to Active Shooters, Houston Doctor Writes

In a medical journal article, a group of medical and law enforcement professionals recommend an addition to the conventional ‘run, hide, fight’


To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:

<iframe src="" style="height: 115px; width: 100%;"></iframe>

"Run, hide, fight" as a response to an active shooter threat is recommended by the Department of Homeland Security.

But Dr. Kenneth Mattox, chief of staff at Houston's Ben Taub Hospital, said that approach isn't always practical at hospitals.

He was part of a group that came up with an alternative strategy, published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"If you run, you're abandoning your patient," Mattox said. "And if you abandon your patient and a shooter comes in, then that person is a ready-made target. If you stay, then you risk making your child an orphan."

So the doctors propose a "secure, preserve, fight" strategy, where critical rooms with incapacitated patients serve as secure areas, where staff and security personnel would gather.

Mattox said people in other areas of the hospital would still follow the "run, hide, fight" method.

Subscribe to Today in Houston

Fill out the form below to subscribe our new daily editorial newsletter from the HPM Newsroom.

* required