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Estate /

Why do hospitals call codes?

| Feb 25, 2019 | Hospital Negligence

Hospitals and medical centers in New York City certainly are unique environments. When you are there as a patient, your stresses are likely high due to the circumstances behind your hospitalization. If you are there as a visitor, then you may be equally stressed due to the concern for your family member or friend. Regardless of the reason for your presence, hospital personnel have a duty to see to your safety.

Hospital personnel typically respond to situations in their facilities by calling hospital-wide codes. There are currently no standardized hospital codes being used in the U.S., yet according to, enough are used interchangeably that general definitions can be assigned to each category. Such codes are meant to prompt immediate action. Yet when are they justified? 

One of the common codes called in hospitals is a Code Blue. This code is meant immediately summon additional caregivers to the location from which it originated. As a patient or visitor, you may be able to prompt a Code Blue on your own, yet typically it is called by a clinician. Thus, hospital caregivers are expected to recognize situations where a Code Blue is needed in order to avoid you or your loved one from suffering serious complications. 

Codes Silver, Yellow and White are meant to indicate the presence of an active shooter or a disaster, or to prompt an evacuation. Code Violet is called when security is needed to deal with a combative individual. Given the stakes that are implied with each of the aforementioned situations, hospital personnel should exercise sound judgment when calling such codes. A Code Violet should not be called against you unless you are clearly a threat to yourself or others, while the panic that is sure to accompany codes calling for hospital-wide action should also be considered. 


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