Are any of us safe at work?

In 2008, when I left my medical studies in China during the rise of doctor-directed workplace violence (WPV) and relocated to the US to finish my training, my parents were unhappy with what I thought – His only child – Being in another part of the world. But he comforted, saying, “At least one day you’ll be safe there as a practicing doctor.”

He assumed that I would be safer as a doctor in America. However, after years of working here and an increasing number of attacks, it has become very clear to me and my family that this is not the case. When healers become targets of deadly bullets, we ask: Are any of us safe?

Last Wednesday, June 1, a gunman killed four people in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who blamed a doctor for his pain. Among those killed were Preston Phillips, MD, an orthopedic surgeon, and Stephanie Hussein, DO, a sports and internal medicine specialist. Amanda Glenn, a receptionist at the clinic, and William Love, a patient, also lost their lives. Our hearts sank in the medical community.

Patient-initiated WPV against healthcare workers is an immediate global public health threat. According to the World Health Organization, between 8% and 38% Health workers globally suffer physical violence while at work at some point in their careers. Attacks can include physical assault, emotional abuse, threats and sexual assault or abuse. Violence against healthcare workers is a growing but often hidden epidemic, with dire consequences for healthcare workers as well as the healthcare professional pipeline of the future.

Mainland China, where I grew up and completed part of my medical training, has one of the highest prevalence (42.2% to 83.3%) of health care WPV in the world. in big 2020 Survey Based Study56.4% of healthcare workers reported experiencing WPV, of which 15.9% were physical attacks. another studyBased on available news reports, between January 2004 and December 2018, 34 incidents in China resulted in the death of healthcare workers. In 2012 alone, Seven HCWs killed As a result of WPV. It is possible that many more have not been reported.

What was the reason for these violent attacks? Refusal to accept death and dissatisfaction with treatment outcomes were among the main drivers. Of the perpetrators involved in these attacks 34.5% used a weapon, all of which were non-gun due to the strict national gun control law in China. As an obvious “safety measure”, it is not uncommon for hospitals to recommend healthcare workers wear a helmet to work.

WPV has serious consequences for health care systems. Less than a quarter (23.9%) of Chinese health workers attended 2020 study reported that they would still choose the medical profession if they were more aware of the risks. And more than 90% of participants indicated that they would not support their children going to therapy. It should come as no surprise that the rise of WPV is negatively affecting students’ desire To practice medicine. In fact, in one 2018 Xinhuanet Report, experts estimate that only one in six medical graduates in China eventually wears a white coat. While there are many factors at play, one of the major contributors to WPV was the high-risk work environment.

There is violence against health workers in America too Increasing, and will likely trigger great resignations in medicine. There is a huge shortage of health workers at present. Association of American Medical Colleges predicts shortage among 37,800 and 124,000 physicians until 2034. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing expects an additional 221,900 Registered Nurse To help meet workforce demand in 2029. and the lack of Mercer estimates over 650,000 Other health workers by 2025 – just 3 years from now.

The COVID-19 pandemic, at a time when death of health worker has only exposed this acute shortage of health care human resources. The inability of healthcare workers to stay safe on the job has largely contributed to great resignations in healthcare. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, from January to April this year, over 2 million healthcare workers Quit your job If we can learn anything from China’s decades-long experience of deadly attacks on healthcare workers, it is that this violence will undoubtedly push more people off medicine. This influence will last far beyond our present generation, as those who have given up medicine today would discourage their children from entering the field.

Shortly after the shooting in Tulsa, I received a panic call from my mother, asking about my safety “against so many gunmen in America.” This was not the first time I had received a call like this from my worried mother in the last 3 years as an attending physician in the US, first, it was the alarmingly high COVID-19 related health worker mortality rate, then this Disturbing was anti-Asian hate crimes, and more recently, mass shootings and gun violence in medical facilities.

Each time, I eased my mother’s anxiety by telling me how far the attacks were from my rural Washington city. But each time, she seemed less confident. “You’re still young enough to switch to a different career,” he told me. As the first generation college graduate and physician in my family to eventually live out her dream of practicing medicine, I know it hurt my mother to ask this question. But when we spoke, my assurance to him was armed with a painful hesitation.

Mengi “Jade” Jha, MD, is a family medicine doctor in Washington state and a non-fiction writer,

Author: Admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.