SOUTH BRONX, New York City (WABC) -- Friday's rampage in the Bronx is raising serious questions about hospital security, including whether more stringent rules should be implemented.
Hospitals like Bronx-Lebanon train for situations like the one that occurred Friday, and immediately implemented what's called a "Code Silver" to let hospital staff know a gunman was in the building.
The two simple words, "Code Silver", allowed doctors and staff here inside Bronx Lebanon to immediately jump into action in the midst of this very chaotic and terrifying situation.
With a protocol for an active shooter already in place they knew exactly what steps to execute, and these actions very likely helped save lives.
"They said code silver, which means someone had a weapon," said social worker Nina Kessel. "We had to barricade our floor and all the patients to make sure everybody was safe until the police came."
What had been taught as a drill to doctors, nurses, and staff here at Bronx Lebanon Hospital quickly unfolded into a terrifying reality Friday afternoon when the words code silver were blared over the loudspeakers.
"We just got a bed and barricaded the door and all of the patients we told them to stay in their rooms and close the doors," said Kessel. "Patients were obviously panicked but we told them to stay calm and stay put and close the doors and that's what everybody did."
"We were working inside in the emergency room," said Michael Baez. "They gave the code silver. The code silver, we were trained that someone is in the building with a gun or a knife. So when they give that code we have to make we are safe as well as the patient."
As police and first responders converged inside carefully searching floor by floor for the shooter now identified as 45-year-old Dr. Henry Bello, workers sheltered in place still tending to patients while others cared for the wounded.
Several hours later police allowed staff with proper identification to go back into the hospital. With one of the busiest ERs in the city, Bronx Lebanon is still accepting patients in need but a worker inside tells me the staff is still overwhelmed but the nightmare that unfolded Friday.