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Emerging Trend: Deadly Workplace Violence in Health Care Settings

Dr. Preston Phillips (below) was one of four people shot to death and up to 10 others injured at the Natalie Building, a five-story medical complex at Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa yesterday.

According to authorities, the perpetrator had repeatedly called the medical office complaining of pain and demanding treatment, after undergoing back surgery performed by Dr. Phillips on May 19, 2022. The gunman was seen at the clinic just the day before the massacre.

Dr. Phillips' murder was by design. According to Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin, a letter was found on the gunman after he shot himself to death "which made it clear that he came in with the intent (of) killing Dr. Phillips" and anyone else who got in his way.

Photo of Harvard-educated Preston J. Phillips, M.D. curtesy of St. Francis Health System

Workplace Violence in the Health Care Field Turns Deadly

Wednesday evening's tragedy in Oklahoma follows OSHA's long-term declaration that "Workplace violence (WPV) is a recognized hazard in the healthcare industry."


Historically, OSHA's statistic has meant the dangers of physical injuries to health care professionals by combative patients or disgruntled family members.

In the past 7.5 months, however, a disturbing emerging trend of deadly workplace-related violence in the health care field is emerging:

On October 4, 2021 nursing assistant Anrae James was shot to death inside Philadelphia's Thomas Jefferson Medical Center. The day before Dr. Phillips' tragic murder, lawyers for Mr. James family reported a lawsuit has been filed charging the hospital with not providing a safe enough working environment for Mr. James.

Just five days later on October 9, 2021, Mackeda Evans and Michelle Boateng, both of whom worked at the Gateway Village senior living community in Capitol Heights, Maryland, were shot to death inside the facility. A resident who received medical-related services as part of his stay in the community, was arrested and is facing two counts of murder.

Then the evening of June 1, 2022, Dr. Phillips and three other innocent people were shot dead at work by another disgruntled patient.



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