Saturday, February 23, 2013

Guarding a Surgeon in the Hospital

My heroine is a surgeon. Someone has made several attempts on her life. The hospital has insisted she have a bodyguard. Here are my questions: 1) Would he be allowed to carry a weapon? 2) Would the bodyguard be allowed to be in the OR with her, or would he be stationed outside the OR doors?

Most hospitals don’t allow “carrying” unless the person is a law enforcement officer (LEO) there on law enforcement business. Hospital security guards don’t carry guns. When a prisoner has to be hospitalized, the LEO guarding him/her would have their service weapon with them.

These days, with HIPAA, the patient/family would likely have to give permission unless the bodyguard works for the hospital as an employee. When someone is admitted to the hospital, they sign a blanket paper that allows hospital personnel to treat them—like nurses and X-ray techs. Still, he’s not going to be involved in patient care, so he’s treated more like an administrator—someone who may be in on patient-related conversations and must keep them confidential. It’s a potential liability for the hospital to have him in the OR if he gets hurt (ie, passes out and hits his head, for example). The hospital might hire him as an independent contractor and require him to provide his own liability insurance.
Chances are he’d be asked to station himself outside the OR doors—but there are two sets. Most ORs have a door to the main hall and a door to the supply hall (usually on the opposite side). Two doors to guard, in other words.
Assuming you cover both doors, you’d have to check ID on anyone entering the room. It’s amazing how much of a “disguise” scrubs and a surgical hat and booties provide.
3) During the operation, a poisonous gas is funneled into the OR through the ventilation.
Heroine passes out; the hero manages to get heroine out of OR before he passes out.
Would the hospital staff remove his weapon when then tend to him?

Yes, they’d remove it. Assuming he was taken to the ER, they’d remove the gun and lock it in the ER safe—unless another officer was there to take it into custody.

Questions? Comments?
Kelly has worked in the medical field for over twenty years, mainly at large medical centers. With experience in a variety of settings, chances are Kelly may have seen it.

Sometimes truth seems stranger than fiction in medicine, but accurate medicine in fiction is fabulous.
Find her fiction at
Like crime scenes? I recommend Crime Scene Writer. To join:


  1. Interesting to see how many writers get it wrong. I like the idea of the doctor heroine overcome by gas and the hero dragging her out before he succumbs

    1. Hi, Mona.
      Yes, it's an interesting premise. The scenario should be doable, depending on what's used to knock out the doctor and body guard.
      Cheers, Kelly