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Middle East J Anaesthesiol. 2013 Oct;22(3):317-26.

Minimal/underreported but definite risk of death/bodily harm threats (DBHTs) to pain practitioners: results of nationwide survey from United States.



Many physicians have experienced or will experience patient who acts threateningly towards them at least once in their careers. However, there have been no studies to gauge the incidence rate and severity of patients' and/or patients' families' violence towards pain physicians.


This nationwide survey was completed to evaluate the incidence of death/bodily harm threats (DBHTs) against pain physicians.


A questionnaire along with online assent form was uploaded on SurveyMonkey Online Portal. The uploaded survey web-link was sent to pain fellowship programs in the United States so that pain physicians and pain fellows can respond to this survey. The respondents were expected to anonymously complete the survey containing various questions relating to confrontational patients' experiences, how these experiences affected them, how those situations were handled, and how the respondents would act differently in the future secondary to their victimization by the confrontational patients.


The response rate to the nationwide survey was extremely low (5.2% of anticipated numbers), most likely secondary to underreporting. Out of total 26 respondents across the United States, seven respondents reported receiving DBHTs (incidence of 27%). The median number of absolute DBHTs received in lifetime by these seven respondents was three (range being 1 to 21-30).


There is minimal/underreported but definite risk of DBHTs for pain practitioners and the improved reporting, awareness and discussions can help pain physician community to formulate efficacious strategies to the prevention and management of future DBHTs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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