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World Journal of Emergency Medicine ›› 2021, Vol. 12 ›› Issue (2): 111-116.doi: 10.5847/wjem.j.1920-8642.2021.02.005

• Original Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Violence toward emergency physicians: A prospective-descriptive study

Kasım Turgut(), Erdal Yavuz, Mine Kayacı Yıldız, Mehmet Kaan Poyraz   

  1. Department of Emergency Medicine, Research and Training Hospital, Adiyaman University, Adiyaman 02100, Turkey
  • Received:2020-01-06 Revised:2020-10-16 Online:2021-04-01 Published:2021-04-01
  • Contact: Kasım Turgut


BACKGROUND: The highest rate of workplace violence occurs in the health sector, although most cases remain unreported. Emergency services face the majority of these incidents for many reasons, such as the patient profile, long waiting time, and overcrowding. We aimed to determine the characteristics and causes of violence toward emergency physicians.

METHODS: The acts of violence toward emergency physicians over a one-year period were prospectively recorded. After a violent incident took place, a third party separately interviewed the physician exposed to the violent behavior and the perpetrator who displayed this behavior. We examined the perpetrator’s reasons for violence, their demographic characteristics, and the medical complaints of patients involved in such events to determine the characteristics and causes of violence.

RESULTS: Of the violent acts investigated, 85.1% were verbal, and most were directed toward male doctors by the young male relatives of the patients. More than half of the violent acts occurred within the 15 minutes of presentation to emergency service (60.5%) and at off-hours (69.4%). Concerning the health insurance, 20.4% of the cases were covered by the free green card system, and a small number of the perpetrators of violence lived in rural areas (38.2%). The most common reason for violent behavior was the patients’ or their relatives’ dissatisfaction with the examination or treatment method (38.2%).

CONCLUSIONS: Appropriate communication should be established with the patients, and they should be adequately informed about the treatments and interventions to be performed in order to prevent possible acts of violence.

Key words: Violence, Emergency physician, Emergency department