www.thelancet.com Vol 383 April 19, 2014 1373
April 16, 2014
For the study by Spector and
colleagues see http://www.
For the WHO study see http://
For more on the Hong Kong
initiative see http://www.wma.
Tackling violence against health-care workers
Globally, health-care workers experience high rates of violence and abuse in the workplace. More
focus should be put on preventing such attacks, say experts. Roxanne Nelson reports.
It was a night shift like any other, in
the emergency room at a large, urban
academic medical centre in the USA.
Stanley Johnson, a nurse who had been
employed by the facility for nearly two
decades, accompanied an intoxicated
20-year-old man to the phone so he
could call his mother to pick him up.
The man took the phone, and then
punched Johnson in the face.
But all things considered, apparently
Johnson was lucky. In the emer gency
depart ment waiting area for another
hospital, the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital
Center in New York, a man entered
carrying a concealed weapon. Once
in the waiting room, he pulled it out
and ï¬ red into the crowd, wounding
a nurse and a security guard. In the
state of Texas, the 22-year-old son
of a patient went on a knife-slashing
rampage in the Ambulatory Surgical
Center of Good Shepherd Medical
Center. He stabbed one of the nurses
in the chest and killed her, and
wounded four others.
What is most disturbing about these
incidents is that they are not unique
or isolated events. Physical violence
against nurses and other medical
workers has become an endemic
problem in health care. In addition,
nonphysical assaults, such as bullying
and sexual harassment, are also
common. Although some countries