78 percent of ER doctors attacked by patients’ relatives at Turkish hospitals
Mesude Erşan – ISTANBUL
Some 78 percent of emergency room doctors have been exposed to violence by patients’ relatives at Turkish hospitals in the last year, according to a research by the Emergency Association of Turkey.
The research was undertaken by the association’s board member Prof. Dr. Başak Bayram, who surveyed a total of 713 Turkish doctors working at emergency services.
The research found that 66 percent of ER doctors have been exposed to violence more than once at hospitals in the last year, with “insults and threats” being the most common type of violence. Other types of violence included hitting, battering, attack on personal belongings, and sexual abuse. Some 5.6 percent of doctors said they got injured with weapons and sharp objects.
“The people who resort to violence do not have enough knowledge on emergency health service issues, but have high expectations from the doctors [in resolving the relevant health problem] and can see the doctor as the only responsible side for the [health-related] problems,” Bayram said.
The Federation of Family Physicians Associations (AHEF) protested the violence at hospitals last week, with many doctors wearing black t-shirts with pictures of doctors killed at hospitals on them along with a statement saying: “Who is next?”
Some 91.4 percent of the respondents of the survey reported that there were no precautions that prevented entry into the emergency service, whereas 97.3 percent said the current laws are inadequate.
Some eight percent of the ER doctors said they were exposed to violence at every shift they worked on, whereas 28.2 percent said “almost on every shift.” ER doctors working at state hospitals are exposed to violence 6.5 times more than private hospital doctors, the research said.
When the physicians were asked about their reactions to being subjected to violence, 49.6 percent said they had done nothing and had merely continued with their work. Some 33 percent stated that they had continued on with their work after taking a short break, 54.1 percent stated that they had implemented Code White (Health Ministry’s official emergency code for workplace violence against healthcare providers in Turkey), and 37.2 percent said they had reported the incident to law enforcement.