Intended for healthcare professionals


US hospitals tighten security as violence against staff surges during pandemic

BMJ 2021; 375 doi: (Published 05 October 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;375:n2442
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

Hospitals officials in the United States say that their doctors and nurses are seeing more assaults and threats than ever before as the covid pandemic generates new friction points between patients, staff, and families.

Cox Medical Center Branson in southwest Missouri has said that it will issue about 400 panic buttons to its staff after measuring a dramatic increase in violence from 2019 to 2020, “with the pandemic greatly compounding the issue.”

The number of assaults on staff increased from 40 to 123, while reported injuries jumped from 17 to 78, Cox Branson’s patient safety facilitator, Angie Smith, told the Ozarks First news website. “To see that these numbers are doubling, tripling, and continuing to go up, especially the physical, it’s very unnerving,” she said.

Throughout the Cincinnati region in southern …

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