Nurse sues facility over live hostage drill

Share this content:

A nurse who said she was not warned that she would be threatened and “taken hostage” by a gunman during an emergency preparedness drill is suing her former Colorado nursing home employer for compensatory, punitive and actual economic damages.

Michelle Meeker, RN, said she ultimately had to resign from her position at Life Care Centers of America's Heritage Park Care Center in Carbondale, CO, because of resulting severe physical, emotional and psychological distress.

On the day of the controversial event in October 2013, a supervisor instructed Meeker to approach a “suspicious” man in a common area, the legal complaint states. When the man waved a gun at her and forced her into an empty room, she “begged for her life.” She says she was unaware it was an “active shooter” drill until he told her that he was an officer with the local police department.

But even then, Meeker's complaint says, she was not sure whether to believe him. The officer took another hostage and the pair communicated a “code word” to colleagues, one of whom dialed 911.

The police, however, had been instructed to ignore any calls from the facility during the drill, Meeker's complaint notes. 

Her superiors wound up criticizing her for not resisting or making more noise, even though she had never been trained or instructed to do so previously, she says.

LCCA's corporate office emailed McKnight's a statement from the facility's executive director stating that training drills are performed routinely “to prepare for various scenarios such as fire and natural disasters.”

The executive director declined further comment due to the pending litigation but said the facility was working to “resolve the situation.”