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Hostage and Crisis Negotiations in Medical Facilities: Implications for Medical Personnel

By By James L. Greenstone, Ed.D., J.D., DABECI

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This article will provide a practical overview of suggested procedures to be followed by medical personnel in those instances when hostage or crisis situations occur in a medical facility such as, but not limited to, an emergency room or medical office. In such situations, also it will be important for all medical personnel to know how to interact appropriately with police, SWAT and hostage negotiators. At the conclusion of perusing this article, the reader should:

  1. Know how to provide needed assistance during a hostage situation.
  2. Understand how to assist hostage negotiators.
  3. Have some knowledge of basic hostage negotiation procedures.
  4. Address some of the medical needs of extended deployments.
  5. Facilitate the transfer of medical care as needed and as appropriate.

Historical Perspective

Efforts to negotiate disputes between people probably date back to early mankind. Formal attempts at Crisis Intervention can be found early in the 20th Century. Modern hostage negotiations techniques date to the 1970’s. Captain Frank Bolz of the New York City Police Department generally is credited with developing many of the procedures utilized today. In part, his ideas for better ways to solve difficult crisis situations stemmed from his experiences at the Munich Olympics in 1972. When he returned to the United States, he set in motion the beginnings of what we know today as police hostage and crisis negotiations. Perfected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and others working in this field, the practices for resolving these types of situations have been tested and perfected. While there may be much work yet to be done to further develop the system, the success rate of hostage and crisis negotiations, when allowed to function, approaches very close to 100%.

Hostage and Crisis Negotiations in Medical Facilities By James L. Greenstone


Copyright © 2012 James L. Greenstone
Copyright ©   2012  The Negotiator Magazine
The Negotiator Magazine  (December, 2012 – January, 2013)