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J Ky Med Assoc. 1997 May;95(5):183-9.

Violence in medical facilities: a review of 40 incidents.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Louisville School of Medicine, KY 40292, USA.


Workplace violence has become an increasing problem in the United States. This paper reviews 40 such incidents of non-patient violence occurring in medical facilities. Areas of study include categories of violence, weapons used, number of persons killed or wounded, precipitant for the violent act, and the presence of psychopathology. Additional variables such as suicide, drug and alcohol use, stalking, and hostage-taking are also examined. The results indicate that workplace violence in medical settings differs considerably from incidents in other work environments, particularly with respect to motivation, psychiatric diagnoses, weapons used, and stalking. Intervention and management strategies in health care institutions may, therefore, need to be modified in order to deal with violence. An examination of the data allows development of a profile for violence in medical settings and the identification of risk factors. Security issues for hospitals, clinics, and physician offices are also discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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