Doctor's Hospital -- One Year Later

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - One year ago, three people died at Doctor's Hospital in Columbus, allegedly at the hand of Charles Johnston.

In the year since the shootings, officials have worked to review the hospital's security hopes it won't happen again.

The scene that day was one CEO Larry Sanders, a 35 year veteran of the hospital industry, had rarely even heard of, much less seen.

"I can count on one hand the number of gun incidents I've even read about in hospitals," Sanders said.

In all, three died on March 27th, 2008.

It was simply an unthinkable situation for Senior Vice President Tom Titus.

"It was sort of like a blur and sort of like a bad dream. These are the kind of things you just can't ever expect to happen at a hospital," Titus said.

Shortly after, officials began work to make Doctor's Hospital function as it was a safe haven for patients.

"We did begin a review of our security policies, immediately after that happened and essentially, you've got to realize we had only acquired this hospital three weeks prior to this incident happening," Titus said.

And Titus says security has improved greatly since the shootings.

There's now an integrated communications system and officers patrol Doctor's Hospital 24 hours a day.

"This was just a totally unexpected kind of thing. It's something I don't really think you can plan for, effectively. Because, if you have an open hospital, where patients can come in and out for services, you always have the potential of someone doing something like this," Titus said.