Violence and abuse faced by junior physicians in the emergency department from patients and their caretakers: a nationwide study from Pakistan

Document Type



Community Health Sciences


Background: Across the globe, physicians in the emergency department (ED) are subject to violence by Patients and visitors. This has been shown to have negative effects on Patient care and physician performance. Study Objectives: This study was conducted to determine the magnitude of the problem in a developing country, to examine the effects of ED violence on physician satisfaction and performance, and to identify underlying etiologies and potential solutions. Methods And Setting: This nationwide cross-sectional study examined physicians-in-training (n = 675) in the EDs of nine major tertiary care hospitals in Pakistan. Results: The study reveals a significant problem, with 76.9% of physicians facing verbal (65.0%) or physical (11.9%) abuse from Patients or their caretakers in the previous 2 months. Male physicians were more likely than female physicians to be victims of such episodes (p < 0.05), as were physicians who had spent more than 60 h in the ED in the past 2 months (p < 0.0001). Reduced job satisfaction and a decline in the quality of job performance were reported by 40.7% and 44.3% of physicians, respectively. Junior trainee physicians were more likely to report impairment in job performance when compared to their senior colleagues (p = 0.014). Patients' lack of education, overcrowding in the ED, and lack of coverage by security staff were identified as the major areas that need attention to address the problem. Conclusion: This study provides further evidence of the global prevalence of the problem, with the first nationwide epidemiological study performed in a developing country.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Emergency Medicine