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D-H officials: 'We will continue to be strong.'

Union Leader Correspondent

September 13. 2017 4:27PM
Chief Clinical Officer for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Dr. Edward J. Merrens speaks during an afternoon news conference as the Lebanon hospital's Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel John P. Kacavas, right, and Emergency Management CoordinatorJim Alexander look on. (Bea Lewis/Union Leader Correspondent)

LEBANON - A day after a gunman opened fire in the ICU of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, hospital officials reassured the public that a high-level of patient care would continue even as the medical group reviews its security protocols.

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, official said that they would take their time with the review and that the hospital wouldn’t be reactionary.

“We are a resilient organization and we’re recovering from this traumatic event,” said John Kacavas, the center’s chief legal officer. “We will continue to be strong.”

Travis Frink of WarwicK, R.I., has been charged with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of his mother, Pamela Ferriere of Groton. According to court documents, Frink shot his mother with a handgun while she was recovering from an aneurism. Ferriere, 70, was scheduled for discharge on Friday.

The hospital said that staff at the medical center underwent active shooter training as recently as this spring and that training has been conducted at Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s satellite facilities statewide.

Officials declined to answer questions about if Frink was on the intensive care unit’s visitor’s list or if the hospital was aware of any incidents in his background that would have signalled a problem. The hospital said those answers were part of the criminal investigation.

Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Edward Merrens said Dartmouth-Hitchcock wanted to express its thanks to patients and the staff.

“We’ve trained for this and people were ready for something you should never have to be ready for,” he said.

The shooting triggered an evacuation and shelter-in-place orders followed by a massive police response. Police were first called to the Intensive Care Unit on the fourth level of the hospital’s North building shortly before 1:30 p.m. Witnesses reported hearing “Code Silver” and seeing heavily armed officers streaming into the building, going door-to-door to evacuate staff and patients, some in wheelchairs.

The hospital on Wednesday still had has an active incident command group running and are offering counseling for affected personnel. Officials said only four surgeries were postponed as part of the shooting.

Media attended the briefing at the Novell office building from as far away as New York and Rhode Island.

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