hospital doctors health 58.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The number of reported incidents of physical and verbal violence against medical
staffers declined from 4,000 in 2008 to 2,400 in 2010.
But while the
number of physical attacks has gone down, the share of verbal violence has
risen, Health Ministry director-general Dr. Ronni Gamzu said at a conference at
Kfar Maccabiah in Ramat Gan dedicated to the subject on Wednesday.
the number of incidents in tense hospital emergency rooms has declined, some of
the violence has moved to other locations, such as inpatient departments, and
against hospital security guards.
But medical personnel are no longer
willing to remain silent, and the number of complaints filed with the police has
risen. Eighty-four files were opened during the first six months of this year,
compared to 155 during the whole of 2009. Two-thirds of the attacks were in
hospitals, with the rest in community clinics.
Most (48 percent) of the
incidents, according to Gamzu, occurred between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., with 37% from
then until midnight and 15% between midnight and 8 a.m. In 51% of cases, it was
the patient himself who was violent, with 49% a visitor or accompanying person.
Physical violence occurred in 21% of cases; in the rest, the attacker was
Israel Medical Association chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman
said that doctors, nurses and other personnel “stand daily on the front” and
that much of the violence is due to crowding, long waits in queues and the
shortage of doctors, nurses and medical equipment.
“People lose their
patience, but zero tolerance should be shown to violence,” said
The IMA has lobbied for a law that would set more severe
punishments for those who attack medical personnel.
“We demand that the
Health Ministry act in the government to define treatment of violence in medical
facilities as a national target so that the problem is treated nationally and
not locally,” he said.
But Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman
released some steam himself when he protested, in a special ministry press
release, that many hospital and health fund administrators failed to show up at
“The complicated task of fighting violence must be led by
heads of medical institutions with stress put on improving training for service,
continuously better conditions for the medical service and better security,”
said Litzman. “If senior administrators in hospitals and some of the health
funds don’t attend a national conference on violence, they should not complain
to the ministry.”