Covid-19 Research


Bookmark


  • Page views 1053
  • PDF Downloads 496


> Medicine. 2020 September 6;9:154-155. doi: 10.37871/jbres1135.

Short Communication

Violence against Health-Care Personnel: Lessons from COVID-19 Pandemic

Ahmed M Abbas1,2*, Lobna Ahmed2,3, Mark Mohsen Kamel2,3 and Sarah K. Fahmi2,4

1Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, Egypt
2COvid-19 Research of Assiut University Association (CORAUNA) group
3House-officer, Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, Egypt
4Under-graduate, Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, Egypt
*Corresponding author: Ahmed M Abbas, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Assiut University, Egypt, Women Health Hospital,71511, Assiut, Egypt, Tel: +20-88-2414616; Fax: +20-88-9202503; E-mail: bmr90@hotmail.com, ahmedabbas@aun.edu.eg
Received: 19 August 2020 | Accepted: 16 September 2020 | Published: 17 September 2020
How to cite this article: Abbas AM, Ahmed L, Kamel MM, Fahmi SK. Violence against Health-Care Personnel: Lessons from COVID-19 Pandemic. J Biomed Res Environ Sci. 2020; 6: 154-155. DOI: 10.37871/jbres1135
Copyright:© 2020 Abbas AM, et al., Distributed under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0.

Violence towards healthcare personnel in hospitals is a widespread worrying phenomenon, and it is considered a mirror to violence in society in general [1]. There are many factors may share in this phenomenon as work overload, waiting times, and nurse-patient relations, responsibilities, environmental factors and patient-related factors [2].

Violence in hospitals has several negative impacts on physical and mental harm to the attacked persons who suffers from violence sequels in the short and long terms [3-6]. Since the beginning of this pandemic, headlines have also captured stories of health-care staff facing attacks of violence as they travel to and from health-care facilities. Reports described health-care workers being beaten, stoned, spat on, threatened and evicted from their home. The reasons people attack and abuse health-care personnel during health emergencies are many, and local contexts vary.

In some settings during the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic; fear, panic, misinformation about how Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) can spread, and misplaced anger are likely. What makes the current attacks specifically horrifying is that health-care personnel are responding to a crisis that is deeply affecting all societies [6,7].

Governmental failures in some countries to adequately provide and manage resources in this pandemic mean that health-care personnel are risking their lives daily by caring for COVID-19 patients without adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other safety measures in their workplaces [7]. As a result, thousands of health-care workers worldwide have contracted SARS-CoV-2 and have thus been perceived as public health hazards themselves.

This situation has generated violence against them in some places, essentially for performing their professional duties [8]. This response is likely to exacerbate already unprecedented COVID-19 related stress and burnout that health-care workers and their families are experiencing in this pandemic. A few government leaders have responded by announcing swift and, in some cases, draconian punishment for those who attack health-care workers [9,10].

The health problem that has been exacerbated by the social isolation measures currently in place in countries around world with the COVID-19 pandemic taxing the health-care systems of almost every country, assaults on health-care workers are assaults against all of us [11]. We depend on their health and wellbeing so that they can continue to provide care to individuals, families, and communities with and without COVID-19.

Therefore, there is no more time to waste. We are facing a critical juncture, with the current cohort of medical students and physicians exposed to the disproportionately high levels of personal, professional, and emotional trauma that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic [12]. Training is imperative; it is of paramount importance for our future medical professionals to be self-aware of their emotional triggers.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, health workers including physicians, nurses and other front-line health-care have been celebrated for their outstanding work in many countries. However, attacks against the healthcare personnel engaged in the pandemic response are increasing number as reported worldwide by media, humanitarian organizations and health workers.

Effective responses must address the root causes. We recommend that the following actions be taken immediately. First, data on attacks specific to COVID-19 should systematically gathered and included in the WHO Surveillance System of Attacks on Healthcare. Global support from all member states and their communities for this effort is essential to achieve a robust surveillance system.

Second, attacks against health-care personnel must be prevented and condemned. Partnerships for the prevention of violence must be forged.

Third, misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19 must be countered. Widespread misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19, including conspiracy theories, have contributed to the demonization of certain groups such as health-care workers.

Fourth, accountability is needed. We must demand responsible enforcement actions against perpetrators of attacks by local and national governments. Violence against health-care personnel should be met with swift responses from law enforcement and legal systems.

Fifth, state and local governments should invest in health security measures to protect health-care workers as part of COVID-19 emergency budgets. Funding for the protection of health-care personnel and health facilities is needed now.

  1. Kelloway EK, Barling J, Hurrell JJ Jr, editors. Handbook of workplace violence. New York: Sage Publications; 2006; 147-168.
  2. Angland S, Dowling M, Casey D. Nurses’ perceptions of the factors which cause violence and aggression in the emergency department: A qualitative study. Int Emerg Nurs. 2014; 22: 134-139. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ienj.2013.09.005
  3. Gerberich SG, Church TR, McGovern PM, Hansen HE, Nachreiner NM, Geisser MS, et al. An epidemiological study of the magnitude and consequences of work related violence: The Minnesota nurses’ study. Occup Environ Med. 2004; 61: 495-503. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1136/oem.2003.007294
  4. Anderson DG. Workplace violence in long haul trucking: Occupational health nursing update. AAOHN J. 2004; 52: 23-27.
  5. Yang LQ, Spector PE, Daisy Chang CH, Gallant-Roman M, Powell J. Psychosocial precursors and physical consequences of workplace violence towards nurses: a longitudinal examination with naturally occurring groups in hospital settings. Int J Nurs Stud. 2012; 49: 1091-1092. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2012.03.006
  6. Miranda H, Punnett L, Gore R, Boyer J. Violence at the workplace increases the risk of musculoskeletal pain among nursing home workers. Occup Environ Med. 2011; 68: 52-57. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1136/oem.2009.051474
  7. Arnetz JE, Arnetz BB. Violence towards health care staff and possible effects on the quality of patient care. Soc Sci Med. 2001; 52: 417-427. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0277-9536(00)00146-5
  8. Goodman RA, Jenkins EL, Mercy JA. Workplace-related homicide among health care workers in the United States, 1980 through 1990. JAMA. 1994; 272:1686-1688. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.1994.03520210070034
  9. Kuhn W. Violence in the emergency department. Managing aggressive patients in a high-stress environment. Postgrad Med. 1999; 105: 143-148. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.3810/pgm.1999.01.504
  10. Pitcher G. BMA survey finds one-third of doctors attacked physically or verbally in 2007. Ethics, Health and Safety, HR STRATEGY, Latest News, Occupational Health, Stress, Wellbeing. 2008.
  11. Sun S, Wang W. Violence against Chinese health-care workers. Lancet. 2011; 377: 1747. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60733-2
  12. Abbas AM, AbouBakr A, Magdy S, Refai A, Ismail Y, Mahmoud N, et al. Psychological effect of COVID-19 on medical health-care workers. Int J Psychiatry Clin Practice. 2020; 7-15. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13651501.2020.1791903

Content Alerts

SignUp to our
Content alerts.


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.