More than four out of every 10 victims of violence in hospitals suffer from emotional distress afterwards, according to a survey released yesterday by the Taipei City Government’s Department of Health.
The survey, conducted last year, of workers aged between 20 and 55 in the medical, finance, restaurant, manufacturing and electronic engineering industries, found that about 19.8 percent of medical personnel who were victims of workplace violence had experienced medium levels of psychological distress.
A higher percentage of the same group of hospital employees — 23.8 percent — said they were severely troubled by emotional problems, while another 11.9 percent said they had had suicidal thoughts, the poll found.
“The department received 31 assault complaints from 14 medical institutions last year, compared with 40 reports in 2013. Ninety percent of the incidents occurred during the early hours of the morning, as that is the time of the day when hospitals have the fewest employees on duty,” Medical Affairs Division Director Liu Yueh-ping (劉越萍) told a news conference in Taipei.
Ten perpertrators of such violence have been fined NT$30,000 each in accordance with the Medical Care Act (醫療法), Liu said.
Liu said the majority of last year’s reported assault cases — 45.2 percent — involved both verbal and physical violence, while verbal attacks accounted for 29 percent of the reports and physical assault accounted for 25.8 percent.
“Hospitals are most short-staffed overnight and that can increase the possibility of a misunderstanding in communication between medical personnel and patients or their families,” Liu said.
However, mutual understanding and tolerance are required from both sides for patients to receive the best possible medical care, she said.
The survey received a total of 1,539 valid responses. No margin of error was given.
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