Thank you to Gina Shaw for her article, “Violence Against EPs Hits Unprecedented Levels.” (EMN. 2023;451; https://bit.ly/3RpJYyO.) I recently gave a lecture on this subject matter at the Michigan College of Emergency Physicians Winter Symposium.
We all know the gravity of this problem and some of the actions we'd like our hospitals and legislators to take. Part of the relative underresponsiveness of our hospital systems and government relates to the significant underreporting of the many abusive interactions that occur regularly in the ED. We need to make a commitment to report these events, providing our health systems and legislators with objective data that will support the investment necessary to provide safety measures to address this rampant problem. We have many anecdotal cases but little in the way of accurate statistics.
Our ED in metropolitan Detroit committed to reporting a couple of years back. The result was what appeared to be a significant increase in violent acts against our staff. In reality, there has been an increase, but I believe it appeared even more impressive because we have neglected to report the baseline violence we've come to tolerate in EM. As a result of the data, we collected an accurate depiction of the problem, and our health system approved funding for a weapons detector and additional security presence.
Gathering and analyzing data is what we do in EM. This is how we drive quality and safety. We need to take the time to focus our commitment to this safety initiative for ourselves, our patients, and all ED staff.
Jennifer Stevenson, DO
Pleasant Ridge, MI