Attack video puts spotlight on risks health workers face

Published August 18, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



THE video clip of an elderly patient kicking an on-duty hospital doctor in the neck has caused widespread shock among the public after going viral on the Internet.

Such violence, of course, deserves outright condemnation – and criticism of the patient’s actions by professional medical bodies has been intense.

The Medical Council of Thailand issued a statement describing the incident as an act of grave intimidation and an insult to the medical profession. “In no circumstances may one use violence against doctors or medical workers,” it said.

The Dental Council expressed sadness such an incident occurred, while voicing concern about the safety and welfare of health workers.

Dr Ittaporn Kanacharoen, deputy secretary general of the Medical Council, also pressed for the Thailand Nursing and Midwifery Council to issue a statement on the case, noting that nurses have been the likeliest victims of such violence.

Suddenly the professionals who deserve our respect seem vulnerable when patients turn unruly. Just why would a patient seeking medical help turn violent against the gown-wearing man who was there to help him?

The 68-year-old patient, a former mayor, has never apologised to the 30-year-old doctor since the assault occurred on August 6 at Mae Jai Hospital in Phayao. Instead, the unrepentant patient went to seek treatment at another hospital.

However, the doctor has now decided to lodge a complaint with police over the incident using recordings from the hospital’s security camera as evidence.

After a clip from that same hospital footage somehow did the rounds on social media, the patient insisted, after a barrage of criticism, that the segment failed to capture how the young doctor looked down on and verbally abused him.

He claimed the clip had slandered his reputation and lodged a defamation complaint with police. “I have never been an aggressive man,” the former mayor said.

But the doctor in question has an impressive professional record, including one award for his hard work. Although he could have sought a better-paid job in big city, he chose to work at the provincial hospital.

When the case goes to the court, the doctor will have a good chance to win, given the video-clip evidence.

But this case should not end there. It deserves further study so problems that led to the assault can be identified and solutions introduced.

Authorities will have to review safety measures to determine if medical workers can be better protected.

Foreign studies show that frontline medical workers in hospitals, particularly in accident and emergency units, often experience verbal and physical violence.

In Thailand, a 2010 study titled “Workplace Violence and its Management by Nursing Personnel in Emergency Department” revealed that most nurses faced threats or violence but most were just threats and drunkenness was a major factor.

As with other workplaces and industries, employers of health professionals should provide them with a safe work environment. Authorities should also look into whether medical workers could become so overwhelmed with workloads that they turn irritable.

Medical schools and employers should also provide communications and human-relations training to health workers. Such skills, after all, can only reduce the risk of misunderstanding, ill-feeling, confrontation and assaults.

All parties concerned should come together to address the risk of violence that health workers may silently face. Had the neck-kicking incident not gone viral, society might not have been aware of the type of risks that health workers have to endure.

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