“More needs to be done,” said ACEP President Vidor Friedman, MD, FACEP, at an ACEP18 telenews conference about emergency department violence. “Violence in emergency departments is not only affecting medical staff, it is affecting patients. When violence occurs in an emergency department, patients can be injured or traumatized to the point of leaving without being seen. It also can increase wait times and distract emergency staff from focusing on other patients who urgently require a physician’s assistance.”
Explore This IssueACEP18 Wednesday Daily News
Increasing violence in America’s emergency departments is causing harm to physicians, staff, and patients, according to new research. Nearly half (47 percent) of emergency physicians report having been physically assaulted while at work, with 60 percent saying those assaults occurred in the past year. Nearly 8 in 10 also say that patient care is being affected, with 51 percent of those saying patients have been physically harmed.
The results of a poll of more than 3,500 emergency physicians across the nation were released today, alongside new research about violence in Michigan emergency departments. The poll was conducted by Marketing General Incorporated.
A new study (“Reassessment of Violence Against Emergency Physicians”) published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine and presented at ACEP18 found that despite increased security measures in Michigan, the problems of emergency department violence are getting worse.
“Emergency physicians across all demographics experience various forms of violence and are increasingly concerned about becoming a victim of violence,” said Terry Kowalenko, MD, FACEP, an emergency physician in Michigan and co-author of the study. “Despite increased risks, our research found that there is very little published on topics such as situational awareness, verbal de-escalation, self-protection techniques, or weapons awareness for emergency physicians to use.”
According to Dr. Kowalenko’s research, 72 percent of emergency physicians in Michigan reported experiencing violence in the past year. His research showed 8.1 percent of emergency physicians reported feeling “constantly fearful” of becoming a victim of violence (compared to only 1.2 percent in 2005), and 21.9 percent reporting feeling “frequently fearful” (up from 9.4 percent in 2005).
The telenews conference serves as a marker for ACEP’s commitment to ending violence in emergency departments, ensuring physicians feel safe where and when they practice medicine, and therefore are better able to heal and keep patients safe.