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J Korean Soc Emerg Med > Volume 14(3); 2003 > Article
Journal of The Korean Society of Emergency Medicine 2003;14(3): 309-313.
Survey of Emergency Department Violence
Jin Cheol Kim, Young Man Seol, Hwa Sik Song
Department of Emergency Medicine, College of Medicine, Dankook University, Cheonan, Korea. sssong@dankook.ac.kr
Violence in the Emergency Department is a common concern but it is an ill-defined and underreported problem because no organization or administrative guidelines exist to adequately address it. The aim of this effort was to gather demographic information on the persons responsible for the violence and on the causes of the violence, so we would have basic data for the prevention of such violence.
The answers of Emergency Department doctors and nurses working in tertiary, university hospitals in South Korea to questions on a prospective questionaires during the period from December 2002 through February 2003 were analyzed. The survey used 10 questions to elicit demographic information on the persons responsible for the violence, the degree of violence, the severity of the patient' s disease and the reason for the violence.
Two hundred twenty-five (225) cases of violence in the emergency department were reported from 6 tertiary hospitals during the 2-month duration. Total respondents to the questionaires were 225 (6 staffs, 131 nurses, and 88 residents). Verbal insults and threats were the most common form of violence. Almost all of the violence was due to the male gender, and 74.5% of violence was done by patient's guardians. More than half of those responsible for the violence were in an alcohol-drunken state. The causes of violence were long waiting time and poor patient-practitioner relationship and were not related with the severity of disease.
If violence in the emergency department is to be managed and/or prevented, more administrative and financial efforts, a regular format for documentation of incidents, regular preventive education, and further study, if possible, with the Korean Society of Emergency Medicine are necessary.
Key words: Violence, Verbal abuse, Emergency depart-ment
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