Understanding patient violence against health care workers

The following op-ed was published on February 2, 2011 in USA Today.

Last fall, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital was shot by the distraught son of a patient for whom he was caring. The man later killed his mother, then himself. A week earlier, a patient in a Long Island, N.Y., hospital beat his nurse with a leg from a broken chair, causing serious injuries. The following month, a psychiatric technician at a Napa, Calif., state hospital was fatally attacked on the job.

This snapshot of violence against health care workers reflects a disturbing trend. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics analysis published last year, almost 60% of assaults in the workplace occurred in a health care setting. Nearly three-quarters of these assaults were by patients or residents of a health facility.

No longer havens

Health care settings have been traditionally thought of as “safe havens,” open to anyone as a place to be protected and cared for. This is a trend worth watching. The Joint Commission, a national accrediting agency, soberly noted last year that “health care institutions today are confronting steadily increasing rates of crime, including violent crimes such as assault, rape and homicide.”Violence is most common in psychiatric facilities and emergency departments, but can also be seen in waiting rooms, long-term care centers and critical care units. Nurses are the most frequent targets. According to a 2010 survey from the Emergency Nurses Association, more than half of ER nurses were victims of physical violence and verbal abuse, including being spit on, shoved, or kicked; one in four reported being assaulted more than 20 times over the past three years. The survey noted that the violence seemed to be increasing at the same time the number of alcohol-, drug- and psychiatric-related patients was rising.

Clearly, we must do better protecting those charged with healing the sick. Most hospitals have focused attention on controlling access with security personnel. They’ve also trained staff how to recognize agitated patients, de-escalate threatening situations and to routinely report such incidents. Some facilities and states have taken stronger steps. Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital has installed metal detectors, and Massachusetts recently strengthened criminal penalties for assaults on health care providers.

Doctor-patient strains

But I wonder whether the rising tide of violence against doctors and nurses is more emblematic of a dysfunctional health system. Patients are learning that health care is a commodity. I see firsthand the deterioration of the doctor-patient relationship, as physicians are pressured to see more patients in shorter amounts of time. Patients are rightly frustrated, and some are lashing out.

Rita Anderson, a former emergency room nurse, successfully spearheaded New York’s 1996 campaign that made it a felony to assault a nurse. She told CNN, “People are just tired of waiting, or they are just angry that they’re not getting the care they feel is acceptable. Instead of saying something, their response is hitting, screaming, spitting, yelling.”

Sometimes the simplest approaches are the most effective. Rather than adding security or installing metal detectors to prevent hospital violence, doctors and nurses could do a better job of empathizing with patients who are under stress when they are hospitalized or are angry because they’ve waited hours for medical care. At the same time, patients must realize that health care professionals are doing the best they can with an overtaxed health care system and should never resort to violence or abuse.

That shared understanding and cooperation is essential if we hope to restore our health care institutions to the safe havens they were meant to be.

 is an internal medicine physician and on the Board of Contributors at USA Today.  He is founder and editor of KevinMD.com, also on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

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  • http://emergency-room-nurse.blogspot.com girlvet

    dear kevin:
    Sometimes I wonder if you live in the real world. It seems like you live in a fantasy world where if only the doctors and nurses would be nicer, verbal and physical abuse would end. As far as I am concerned, as a nurse working in the ER in the ghetto, every ER should have an armed off duty cop. I invite you to come and spend some time at any ER and try your nice approach and see where it gets you.

  • http://patientsafety-advocateyourself.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Handy

    Kevin- You indeed live in the real world. I have tried everything short of bringing an envelope of cash to hospital & ED staff in an effort to have my elderly dad (or myself) not insulted or mocked.

    Unless & until the medical community stops treating those they profess to serve (the sick, injured, suffering) as annoyances, inconveniences & potential lawsuits, there will continue to be unnecessary tension in medical facilities. Eg, when my elderly dad got sick on a Friday, I was accused by ED of “dad dumping” so I could have a weekend vacation. Ridiculous since I spent every second of the hospital admission (longer than a weekend) with him.

    The fact that any medical professional would say “I invite you to come and spend some time at any ER and try your nice approach and see where it gets you” is frightening. Moreover, it is indicative that ALL patients are at risk when they go to the hospital. Generally ALL patients are treated with distain, disrespect & suspicion. How is that helpful?

    I remain steadfast in my opinion that there must be a return to solid relationship between pt & physician/staff. (ie pre government, managed care & risk management micro-management.) The unobstructed pt/physician relationship is crucial to ensure:
    1. honest communication
    2. the best possible medical outcomes
    3. less violence
    4. fewer lawsuits
    __________________
    Any med professional who isn’t 100% respectful of every pt who walks through the door should (imho) find another line of work.

  • Guest

    I’m a patient, not a medical professional, and I’ve had more bad experiences with doctors than I can count. I think girlvet is saying that being nice won’t protect you from violence and verbal abuse. She’s absolutely right. It doesn’t mean she’s not ever nice, or even usually nice, to patients in the ER.

    Now, sometimes being calm and kind may defuse a potentially bad situation, but in many cases, being nice to the point of trying to appease someone can even backfire. You never know what will set someone off. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their workplace – that’s the bottom line.

  • http://patientsafety-advocateyourself.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Handy

    Sick, injured, suffering people are likely to be scared & probably not on their best behavior. Sick, injured, suffering people probably will speak in terse voice, be agitated and hysterical. These patients may even forget to say “thank you” & “please.”

    If medical & nursing schools aren’t teaching how to deal with acutely sick, frightened patients then the schools are doing society a disservice. In fact, the schools may arguably be complicit in medical facility violence and employee burn-out.

    Perhaps it’s time for the medical community to step up & do some in-house education on handling sick, injured, suffering patients . . . with compassion as opposed to armed security.

    • Guest

      I agree with most of what you’re saying, except the “complicit in violence” part. The post isn’t about patients not saying please and thank you. It’s about hitting, spitting, shoving, getting up in someone’s face, name-calling…shooting…

      Yes, everyone should be more compassionate to everyone else all the time. That means caring and taking it seriously when anyone is at risk for violence. It means wanting protection for people who are routinely threatened at their workplace. Would it be acceptable to point the finger back at the victims if we were talking about anyone other than doctors and nurses?

      • http://patientsafety-advocateyourself.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Handy

        But we aren’t talking about just any “workplace.” We are talking about a workplace that invites sick, injured, suffering, scared, fragile, perhaps dying human beings into a strange, sterile and often unwelcoming environment. In fact, the medical workplace relies on this unusually fragile population to sustain itself!

        The nurses & doctors are in the best position to anticipate and understand the needs of this special population of suffering people. Metal detectors are fine. But anything beyond a metal detector is troublesome. An atmosphere of armed guards & defensiveness on the part of the medical professionals just amplifies an already emotional environment.

        Since medical professionals are uniquely qualified to anticipate & understand the needs of sick, injured, suffering, scared, fragile patients – it’s incumbent on medical professionals to use their expertise to create a safe, peaceful solution for all parties.

  • Vox Rusticus

    Emergency rooms are common landing places for the poorly socialized and criminally inclined in our society. They are a reflection not of indifference to patient needs but of generalized community-wide neglect of civility and appropriate public conduct.They are as dangerous as the people who go there (or are brought there) and in some places, that means very dangerous. There is no putting a happyface on that, and i don’t blame ED nurses, doctors and other staff for their wariness of patients, both for their potential assaultive behaviors or for their litigiousness. That may seem an un-compassionate notion to you, but I suggest it is because you are unfamiliar with the real dangers of the emergency department setting.

    • http://patientsafety-advocateyourself.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Handy

      I’m a private patient advocate. I cared for my own dad for over 2 years. I am a cancer patient & currently have a serious disease. I understand EDs. If a patient is a criminal, call the police.

      If nurses, doctors, medical professionals go to work with the misconception that “[e]mergency rooms are common landing places for the poorly socialized and criminally inclined in our society” then no wonder there is an environment of violence in the medical setting.

      I spend my professional and personal life trying to help physicians and patients work together. I cringe when I read posts from medical professionals that demonstrate a distain, distrust & resentment for the very people they purport to serve. Even criminals are entitled to healthcare and sick, injured, suffering, dying people are likely to lack civility & “appropriate public conduct.

      Shame on medical professionals who can’t either work towards a solution or find another area of medicine. Patients shouldn’t be the victims of unfair biases.

      • Vox Rusticus

        Those are the realities of the emergency departments and the truth. Neither you nor I have to like it, and you may lament that it is not different, but wishing it to be so does not make it that way. And pretending that it is somehow the fault of doctors and nurses but not of the patients (sorry, being sick does not absolve one of responsibility) is just a failure to grasp
        reality. You are presuming to judge here–cringing or not–as someone who has no responsibility and no liability and no risk. Being an observer for a few encounters with a client or a family member is nothing like the day-in day-out reality of work in an emergency department setting.

      • Guest

        How can doctors and patients work together if we patients can’t even acknowledge the basic human rights of healthcare professionals to be safe from violence?

        This goes way beyond suffering people who “lack civility”. None of your comments actually address violence, except to place the blame on the recipients.

        • elmo

          ” I understand EDs. If a patient is a criminal, call the police.”

          Actually I think you don’t for you would then know that the police commonly drop of these patients in the ED and they don’t always stick around. Honestly, excusing abuse and violence against ANYONE is just disgusting. I suspect you would have a much different view if you actually worked in the field and were subjected to this abuse.

      • ninguem

        There you go. It’s the doctor’s fault.

        Just like the Kentucky doc who got killed because the patient did not get his narcotics when the mean doctor insisted on a urine drug test.

        This attitude is why more and more doctors walk away from hospital work and public aid.

  • Vox Rusticus

    “If nurses, doctors, medical professionals go to work with the misconception that ” “[e]mergency rooms are common landing places for the poorly socialized and criminally inclined in our society” then no wonder there is an environment of violence in the medical setting.””

    Wrong premise. It is not a misconception, nor is it the doing of the staff who work at the E.D. It is the patients who are assaulting and abusive and dangerous; the staff are the victims. You are twisting that to make that appear to be the fault of the people who work there. That is just plain wrong, unless you subscribe to a notion of entitlement so obscene as to include the privilege of abusing one’s caregivers.

    • http://patientsafety-advocateyourself.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Handy

      I agree with you VR. I am just suggesting that when the workers come to the medical setting with a misconception & stereotype all/most patients then the environment is ripe for violence. There is already tension in the ED. Why increase it by coming to work expecting trouble and essentially “hating” the people who come there for care.

      Of course there is no reason for violence towards anyone. I have never seen it on part of patients (who weren’t with a cop). I have been in Chicago inter-city, Cleveland Clinic, St Louis inter-city. Atlanta, Baltimore, NTC, Durham, Raleigh. The *only* violence I have witnessed is medical care provider (not MDs) against (1) fragile and scared, non-violent elderly or (2) sick, compliant, non-violent non-elderly.

      • Vox Rusticus

        >>”Why increase it by coming to work expecting trouble and essentially “hating” the people who come there for care.’

        Where did anyone say that? It seems you are trying to create a controversy where there is none. (I said as much in another post, unfortunately edited out.)

        Cheryl, you are either deliberate or reckless in saying anyone comes to work “hating” anyone. Where above has anyone said anything like that? It seems to me you cannot or will not accept that people who really do know work in an emergency department–likely better than you do–know the realities to be much less pleasant than you want to believe.

  • http://crasspollination.blogspot.com Nurse K

    Yes, Kevin, if someone is hopped up on crack and blowing a .35 and we’re forced by Federal law to care for these people, it’s *empathy* that’ll keep them from being violent. That’s hilarious. Good one. You’re kidding, right?

    Maybe in Nashua, NH, which is “The Best Place to Live in America”, this approach would work for a frustrated businessman whose son has a black eye from a hockey board-checking incident, but in a place that serves a high % of homeless, alcoholic, drug-addicted, violent, police custody cases, and mentally ill patients, this just sounds silly.

    Why don’t you combine crack, a BAL of 350, schizophrenia/bipolar off one’s meds and withdrawals from narcotics and we’ll see where empathy gets you. It’ll get you a black eye if you’re not careful.

    • http://patientsafety-advocateyourself.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Handy

      The problem is that ED medical care professionals are treating *all* patients as though we are “homeless, alcoholic, drug-addicted, violent, police custody cases, and mentally ill patients.”
      1. Many of us are just injured, sick, suffering, fragile, old, dying.
      2. Even “homeless, alcoholic, drug-addicted, violent, police custody cases, and mentally ill patients” deserve compassion and medical care.

      Again, since medical professionals are in the best position to determine the best way to deal with the ED population, they need to separate out the “dangerous,” agitated, nervous from the relatively normal. Please stop prejudging us all as trouble-makers from the giddy-up. Patients are able to sense your distain of us and it just makes an already emotional environment more environment and perhaps unnecessarily violent.

      Just help the patients, please.

      • Guest

        Not *all* ED professionals treat patients badly.

        You undermine your credibility as a patient advocate by excusing violence against anyone.

        • http://patientsafety-advocateyourself.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Handy

          “Guest”

          I have never ever excused violence against anyone. But I have frankly only seen it against my patients. Cops are always there in major cities and smaller dangerous areas to help medical care professionals. I certainly am not saying it does not happen against med care providers – but let’s just stop acting like EDs are filled with dangerous ppl!

      • http://crasspollination.blogspot.com Nurse K

        Cheryl, with all due respect, you don’t really know what you’re talking about. You’ve never seen me nor anyone else here practice nursing/medicine and don’t know how we treat patients. I work my little butt off every single day. I chose to work at my hospital, knowing full-well the patient population. If I didn’t treat people in the aforementioned categories, all I’d be doing is playing Solitaire on the computer.

        Have a little respect for those who put themselves in the “line of fire”.

        • http://patientsafety-advocateyourself.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Handy

          Read the posts. Medical professionals on this post have responded to Kevin by saying that EDs are filled with dangerous people. That is a blanket statement that just is not true. Many people have heart conditions, complex broken bones, serious cuts from mis-using saws. They may act crazy because they are scared.

          The responses to Kevin’s thoughtful post are going to scare reasonable people from going to an ED because you medical professionals have been responding as if you hate/resent everyone who walks through the ED door. You have been responding as if you think all people who walk through the ED are homeless, on crack with a sawed off shot gun ready to kill you. Then when all else fails, you say something whack like *I* condone violence!

          It just isn’t true. The general attitude on this post endangers lives of people who should call 911 at the first sign of a stroke or if they can’t get their baby to breath normally. But after reading this post, many people will think – geez, the ED staff will think I am a loser and so I’ll wait & call my pcp in the morning. That may be too late for the heart pt or baby

          Think about the implications of how you respond to posts. All Kevin suggested was a dialogue in the medical community to tone down the heated, over-emotional atmosphere. And what Kevin got was a heated, over-emotional atmosphere. Hmmm.

          • elmo

            “Medical professionals on this post have responded to Kevin by saying that EDs are filled with dangerous people. That is a blanket statement that just is not true.”

            I am sorry cheryl but no one on this site except you has said that. They HAVE said that violence against health care professionals is just as inexcusable as anybody else in this society. Why you are making excuses for this behavior because it is in an ER and the alleged perp is “ill” is beyond me. If you are truly interested I suggest you spend some time in an inner city ER say betrween mindight and 06:00 on a weekend watching the behavior. Very simply, the vast majority of ER personnel are competent and caring individuls who just don’t want to be verbally and physically abused….like anybody else. Maybe “you” have seen violence by health care personnel against patients (you should report it)…I have never have, would not stand for it, and would immediately report. I have seen verbal and physical abuse by individual patients against staff more times than I can count. Spend some time there as an observer (not as a patient or caregiver).

      • Pudortu

        You must have had some pretty crappy EM experiences. But seriously, 99% of us aren’t that way. And in absolutely no situation is it “okay” to use violence. I don’t care how much of a jerk someone has been to you. Shame on people like you who don’t understand this. Healthcare workers shouldn’t be the victims of unfair biases.

      • ICU_RN

        I have worked in the ICU as a nurse and nurse practitioner at an inner city level one trauma center for many years and have nursing friends who work in the ED. I admit critically ill patients from the ED daily, and not once has a patient or their family complained about not receiving adequate care CLINICALLY. Sure, patients have complained about not getting a warm meal or non-slip socks, but I also remind them that the ED is not at their beck and call. The EMERGENCY department is there to save people’s lives and stabilize them enough to get admitted or discharged. Everything after that is superfluous.

        We all know that the ED is used for many reasons other than its main function, and this stretches the clinicians to their absolute maximum. Even having to function at their overloaded capacity, I have seen these people go above and beyond to make patients comfortable. I’m sorry that each time you go to the ED you have a bad experience, but have you thought that maybe, just maybe, it’s your behavior that’s eliciting the negative reactions you describe? Simply by the nature of their job, these people have to approach everyone with a fair bit of skepticism, and from my experience, most clinicians don’t take kindly to family members demanding food, blankets, and admissions that may not be necessary.

        But all of this is beside the point. No amount of kindness, empathy, or therapeutic listening is going to keep these people safe from psychotic, high, or withdrawing patients who are acting out violently. Of course there are patients who are just “angry because they’ve waited hours for medical care,” but those aren’t the patients that are going to physically harm others. If it takes extra security, metal detectors, etc., to feel safe at their job, then so be it. Why would we NOT want anyone to feel safe at their occupation? Until you become a frontline clinician at a dangerous hospital where the threat to your life is a very real possibility, no one has any right to say what these brave people do or don’t need.

  • Finn

    “The problem is that ED medical care professionals are treating *all* patients as though we are ‘homeless, alcoholic, drug-addicted, violent, police custody cases, and mentally ill patients.’” No, they’re not. I’ve been in the ED as a patient several times, including as a cancer patient, and I was never treated that way, nor were any of the other patients I could see or hear who were there at the same time. I understand that you’ve had some assholes treat you with disdain in the ED but that is neither the norm nor an excuse for patients to become violent. Equating a doctor’s rudeness to you with patients’ violent physical assaults on ED staff is obscene. Yes, we’re sick, injured, scared, stressed, and suffering, and that might make some of us impatient, snappish, or hypersensitive. It most assuredly does not, however, give us permission to punch, slap, kick, stab, shoot, or spit on anyone, and anyone on the receiving end of such assaults most certainly has the right to protect themselves.

    • ninguem

      Cheryl Handy – “….I’m a private patient advocate…..”

      And you think we’re not?

      I won’t set foot in ER’s anymore, and the attitude expressed is a prime reason why. I just spent a week arguing with an insurance company to get a ruling overturned, getting me paid a few hundred dollars, and saving the patient ten thousand, and a shot at getting his credit rating restored.

      In my quiet office practice, I only have to call the police once a year on average.

  • http://patientsafety-advocateyourself.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Handy

    I have never been rude to a medical professional and none of my charges have been rude. I have been “speaking” to posters who have painted *all* ED patients with a broad brush (ie. girlvet) of trouble makers. Many of us (ie me) are not trouble makers. Those ED medical professionals who think most or all ED patients are trouble are the professionals who need to take a step back.

    I agree with Kevin. There needs to be a conversation and some improvements. I think the conversation needs to begin with the medical professionals.

    • Guest

      It’s rude to excuse violence against anyone, that’s for sure. None of these commenters have said that *all* ED patients are troublemakers. They’re just saying the risk of violence is real and it happens to them more than you can imagine. Why can’t you find some common ground with them instead of saying the violence is their fault?

      1. ED patients: Scared, Stressed.
      Medical professional with a gun pointed in his/her face: Scared, Stressed

      2. ED patients: Injured, Suffering.
      Doctor/nurse who is hit or kicked: Injured, Suffering.

      3. Doctor/nurse injured badly enough = ED patient.

  • http://callmenurse.blogspot.com/ CC

    I worked as an RN in a prison full of sex offenders drug addicts and pedophiles and felt safer THERE than in a hospital emergency. It was easy to show these men compassion and give care when they were on their best behavior, albeit whining and complaining. They certainly didn’t ever step out of line or get abusive.

    That doesn’t say much for how protected hospitals are out there…….at least in prison there are guards (and no, they weren’t armed either) keeping them all in line and there were consequences if they got out of line.

    Give me a prison to work in ANY day than a hospital EVER AGAIN.

  • http://paynehertz.blogspot.com Payne Hertz

    Kevin is absolutely right. Being nice towards patients encourages nice behavior in return. There is no excuse for physical violence except in self-defense, but some medical professionals can really push people over the edge with their abusive behavior. I am not condoning violence, but I can understand the intense humiliation, degradation and frustration that sometimes leads some patients to it.

    Treating people with dignity and respect doesn’t guarantee you won’t be treated abusively in return, but it is the morally and professionally correct thing to do and certainly minimizes the likelihood of abusive behaviors by patients in any setting. That being said, more needs to be done to protect medical professionals and patients from those individuals who are going to be violent and abusive no matter how they are treated. People have a right to feel safe in the workplace.

    It should also be noted that patients aren’t the only ones committing acts of violence and abuse in health facilities. The statistics here show that 75 percent of violent incidents in health facilities are caused by patients. That means medical professionals and staff are responsible for the other 25 percent, which is a disproportionate amount of violence given the medical professional/patient ratio.

    As a chronic pain advocate who has talked with thousands of patients and read thousands of their stories online, I have yet to meet a single one who has not been abused by the medical profession in some way. I have met women who have been sexually assaulted and raped by doctors, and others who have been threatened with withdrawal of their meds and blacklisting if they didn’t provide sexual favors. I have met people who have been slapped, punched, yelled at and roughly manhandled by medical professionals, including myself. I don’t know how common these particular behaviors are, but intense verbal and psychological abuse, hostility and deliberate medical sabotage is definitely something the majority of chronic pain patients can expect to experience at some point in their journey through the system.

    Bob Sutton, an expert on workplace bullying and abuse, cites studies that show that doctors and nurses are subject to a tremendous amount of abuse in medical school and the workplace by their fellows:

    http://bobsutton.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/03/breaking_the_cy.html
    http://bobsutton.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/09/dr_gooser_and_a.html

    No one should experience abuse or violence in a healthcare setting. Not doctors, nurses or patients. That more isn’t done to protect medical professionals and patients from abusive and violent individuals is a terrible disgrace.

    • http://crasspollination.blogspot.com Nurse K

      The other major non-patient violent/abusive group is “visitors and family members”, not other medical professionals, although that happens rarely too (and is not limited to the ER).

      Let’s stick to what we know about. Kevin doesn’t know about ER violence anymore than Payne Hertz does.

      • http://paynehertz.blogspot.com Payne Hertz

        We are not talking about ERs exclusively. I know about violence and abuse against patients, as I have heard all the horror stories and experienced it for myself multiple times. Not just direct physical violence, but the indirect violence of deliberate withdrawal of medical care and medical sabotage for no other reason than pure abuse of power. I know many nurses and have heard the stories about how they are treated as well, with sexual harassment and assault and verbal abuse being very common. The studies I cited confirm this. Violence by medical professionals and staff in nursing homes and psychiatric facilities is common enough for every state to have laws against it, and for it to have become a Hollywood cliche.

        • Vox Rusticus

          “Indirect violence of deliberate withdrawal . . . medical sabotage . . . pure abuse of power,” are you serious? You are losing me here, and you are way off the topic.
          Are you trying to suggest some connection between assaults on patients and patient assaults on caregivers?
          Explain your comment, please.

  • http://patientsafety-advocateyourself.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Handy

    TY Payne for a voice of reason. Fact is no medical care professional who has posted after Kevin has given any thought to suffering patients’ state of mind.

    I take many patients to EDs. But as a cancer patient & a patient with osteomyelitis (dead tibia, fevers up to 103.5, vomiting blood, unable to stand or speak), I never go to EDs for myself. Why? Not because of the patients. Not even because of the long waits. Because after hours visits to EDs involve rude, insulting, impatient staff and cold, uncomfortable waiting rooms. I would rather die at home.

    I have gome to my pcp and been told to go to ED. And I smile and shake my head no. Again, even if it is not after hours. It is precisely the tone of the comments on the post that keep me home with alcohol rubs and ice baths. I would absolutely rather die than meet any of you in the ED.

    Yes, I have experience in EDs. And my choice is to die with people around me who care.

  • Vox Rusticus

    >>”TY Payne for a voice of reason. Fact is no medical care professional who has posted after Kevin has given any thought to suffering patients’ state of mind.”
    Not true, and you have no knowledge of any posters here to say that. None. FWIW, Payne has made no relevant points to this discussion; he appears to have his own agenda.

    Your own choices of where you seek care are your business, but you appear to paint–no–smear the people who work in emergency rooms, people you do not know,
    with claims that they are judgmental and indifferent to patients, merely because they disagree with you. Your personal choice whether you go to emergency rooms for treatment of emergency problems is irrelevant. All I hear is self-dramatization in that.

  • elmo

    “Again, even if it is not after hours. It is precisely the tone of the comments on the post that keep me home with alcohol rubs and ice baths. I would absolutely rather die than meet any of you in the ED”

    The tone stating we have a right not to be verbally or physically abused? The tone that states you don’t have the “right” to excuse ER violence as you (and payne) are trying to…ie blame the victim? The tone that replies to your obvious prejudice against all ER employees as illustrated above. Your tone comes across exactly like those who describe all lawyers as bottom-feeding fish. Do you have the introspection to realize that? I suggest if you ever do see abuse in the ER against a patient then call his/her superior/call the patient advocate/call the police…I am sure you have a cell phone.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BBQXNIPWZDVTKOZZCII4ZV2UTM Vanessa Payne

    It seems that no one mentions the abuse brought on to patients by nurses. It happens however, no one listens to the patient. I am someone who was abused, and the nurse got by with it.