Patients or guardians attack physicians not only in Korea but all over the world. A recent paper found that 62 percent of healthcare workers were exposed to violent situations globally and 24 percent experienced physical attacks in the past year.
A research team from China and Australia published their paper, “Prevalence of workplace violence against healthcare workers: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” in the British Medical Journal.
|Closed-circuit television footage shows the emergency room of Gumi Cha Hospital in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province, in August 2018, when a drunken patient attacked an intern doctor in the head with a metal tray.|
The research team has searched PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science since October 2018 to find 253 related studies. The team found that 331,544 healthcare workers, or 61.9 percent, have been exposed to workplace violence, and 24.4 percent reported exposures to physical abuse in the past year.
Forty-three percent were exposed to non-physical violence, such as verbal abuse and threats. Verbal abuse (57.6 percent) was the most common form of non-physical violence, followed by threats (33.2 percent) and sexual harassment (12.4 percent).
The prevalence of violence against healthcare workers was high, especially in Asia and North America, psychiatric and emergency departments, and among nurses and physicians.
“There is a need for governments, policymakers, and health institutions to take actions to address workplace violence towards healthcare professionals globally,” the research team said in the paper.
A poll by the Korean Medical Association in November showed that 71.5 percent of 2,034 physicians said they had been assaulted verbally or physically either by a patient or a guardian in the past three years. (Related news: 71.5% of doctors experience verbal, physical attack from patients)
Among them, 10.4 percent suffered bodily injury. Some of them received sutures, surgery, or severe trauma due to physical assaults.
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