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A Medical Malpractice Trial From The Doctor’s POV

Even among the sciences, medicine occupies a special position. Its practitioners come into direct and intimate contact with people in their daily lives they are present at the critical transitional moments of existence.

For many people, they are the only contact with a world that otherwise stands at a forbidding distance. Often in pain, fearful of death, the sick have a special thirst for reassurance and vulnerability to belief. When this trust is violated, whether rooted in factual substance or merely a conclusion lacking in reality, American jurisprudence offers several remedies with the core being civil litigation.

We have personally witnessed a spectrum of reasons that prompts a patient to seek the counsel of an attorney.

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Medical Workplace Violence Issues

Violence in hospitals usually results from patients, and occasionally family members, who feel frustrated, vulnerable, and out of control.

Transporting patients,long waits for service,inadequate security, poor environmental design, and unrestricted movement of the public are associated with increased risk of assault in hospitals and may be significant factors in social services workplaces as well. A lack of staff training and the absence of violence prevention programming are also associated with the elevated risk of assault in hospitals.

Although anyone working in a hospital may become a victim of violence, nurses and aides who have the most direct contact with patients are at higher risk.

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Romantic Patient Advances

Within the medical practice, clinic, hospital or university setting, faculty and supervisors exercise significant power and authority over others. Therefore, primary responsibility for maintaining high standards of conduct resides especially with those in faculty and supervisor positions. Members of the medical faculty and staff, including graduate assistants, are prohibited from having “Amorous Relationships”with students over whom they have “Supervisory Responsibilities.”

“Supervisory Responsibilities”are defined as teaching, evaluating, tutoring, advocating, counseling and/or advising duties performed currently and directly, whether within or outside the office, clinic or hospital setting by a faculty, staff member or graduate assistant, with respect to a medical, nursing or healthcare professional student.

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Proposing a Possible [San Bernardino CA] Medical Work Place Violence Prevention Initiative?

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The Haddon Matrix for Health Place Injury Prevention and Workplace Violence

By

[Eugene Schmukler; PhD MBA MEd – Certified Trauma Specialist]

***

An invaluable tool for healthcare violence prevention program establishment is the Haddon Matrix. In 1968, William Haddon, Jr., a public health physician with the New York State Health Department, developed a matrix of categories to assist researchers trying to address injury prevention systematically. The idea was to look at injuries in terms of causal factors and contributing factors, rather than just using a descriptive approach. It is only recently that this model has been put to use in the area of workplace violence.

The Matrix Framework

The matrix is a framework designed to apply the traditional public health domains of host, agent, and disease to primary, secondary, and tertiary injury factors. When applied to workplace violence, the “host” is the victim of workplace violence, such as a nurse. The “agent” is a combination of the perpetrator and his or her weapon(s) and the force with which an assault occurs. The “environment” is divided into two sub domains: the physical and the social environments. The location of an assault such as the ER, the street, an examining room, or hospital ward is as important as the social setting in patient interaction, presence of co-workers, and supervisor support.

Modifications

Subsequent versions of the matrix divide the environment into Physical environment and Social, Socio-economic, or Sociocultural environment. Each factor is then considered a pre-event phase, an event phase, and a post-event phase.

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Medical / Healthcare Setting

The Haddon Matrix lends itself to a medical setting in that it uses a classical epidemiological framework to categorize “pre-event,” “event,” and “post-event” activities according to the infectious disease vernacular, host (victim), vector (assailant or weapon), and environment. The strength of the Haddon Matrix is that it includes the ability to assess “pre-events” or precursors in order to develop primary preventive measures.

 

Phases

Host

Agent

Physical Environment

Social Environment

Pre-event (prior to assault)

Knowledge

Self-efficacy

Training

History of prior violence communicated

Assess objects that could become weapons, actual weapons, egress (means of escape)

Visit in pairs or with escort

Event (assault)

De-escalation

Escape techniques

Alarms/2-way phones

Reduce lethality of patient via increasing your distance

Egress, alarm, cell phone

Code and security procedures

Post-event (post-assault)

Medical care/counseling

Post-event debriefing

Referral

Law enforcement

Evaluate role of physical environment

All staff debrief and learn

Modify plan if appropriate

 

Policy?

From the perspective of administration, the Haddon Matrix does not implicate policy. This means that the matrix does not necessarily guide policy. When implemented, the Haddon Matrix can be a “politically” neutral, trans-or multi-disciplinary, objective tool that identifies opportunities for intervention. Furthermore, it outlines sensible “targets of change” for the physical and social environment.

 

Phase

Affected individual and population

Agent used

Environment

Pre-event

Psychological first aid

Communicate efforts to limit action

Have plans in place detailing agency roles in prevention and detection

Event

Population uses skills

Mobilize trauma workers

Communicate that response systems are in place

Post-event

Assessment, triage, and psychological treatment

Communicate, establish outreach centers

Adjust risk communication

End results

Limit distress responses, negative behavior changes and psychological illness

Minimize loss of life and impact of attack

Minimize disruption in daily routines

 

More: Was the San Bernardino CA Massacre Work Place Violence?

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Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™    8Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

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Assessment

And so, was San Bernardino workplace violence – or not; please opine?

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The Doctors and Guns Controversy

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Dr. David Edward Marcinko FACFAS MBA CMP

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Dr David E Marcinko MBAIn late December, three of the nation’s most respected medical journals  published accounts of the gun lobby’s efforts to squelch federally  funded research on gun-related injuries, and to silence physicians who  would talk to their patients about gun ownership or use.

Writing in the  Journal of the American Medical Assn., the Archives of Internal Medicine and the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine,  editorialists suggested it is time for researchers and physicians to  link arms and in the interest of the nation and their patients, let  knowledge about guns lead the way.

Assessment

Conclusion

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The Newtown, Conn School Massacre [Lessons to Learn?]

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REPRINT: This re-publication is provided as a service to our readers, as we mourn the children and victims of the Newtown, Conn massacre. The workplace – healthcare setting analogy is self-evident.

Hospital Workplace Violence Risk Factors

[An NIOSH Summary and Review]

By Dr. Eugene Schmuckler MBA CTS

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™

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Domestically, the impact of workplace violence in the US became widely exposed on November 6, 2009 when 39 year old Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal M. Hasan MD, a 1997 graduate of Virginia Tech University who received a medical doctorate in psychiatry from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, and served as an intern, resident and fellow at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the District of Columbia, went on a savage 100 round shooting spree and rampage that killed 13 people and injured 32 others.

In April 2010 he was transferred to Bell County Jail in Belton, Texas. An Article 32 hearing, which determined whether Hasan would be fit to stand trial at court martial, began on 12 October 2010. Hasan subsequently deemed fit, was arraigned on July 20 2011 and trial was scheduled for March 2012. It was rescheduled again, but is now ongoing and in the news; almost daily.

The NIOSH

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) summarizes the risk factors for occupational violence to hospital workers. These include:

  • working directly with volatile people, especially if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol or have a history of violence or certain psychotic diagnoses;
  • working when understaffed — especially during meal times or visiting hours;
  • transporting patients and long waits for service;
  • overcrowded, uncomfortable waiting rooms;
  • working alone;
  • poor environmental design;
  • inadequate and/or ineffective security;
  • lack of staff training and policies for preventing or managing crises with potentially volatile patients;
  • drug and alcohol abuse;
  • access to firearms;
  • unrestricted movement of the public; and
  • poorly lit corridors, rooms, parking lots, and other areas.

Occupational Violence 

Violence occurring in other occupational groups is most often related to robbery. In healthcare settings, however, acts of violence are most often perpetrated by patients or clients. Family members who feel frustrated, vulnerable, and out of control; and colleagues of patients (especially when the patient is a gang member) are also identified as perpetrators of abuse! However, the presence of co-workers has been identified as a potential deterrent to assault in healthcare.

Healthcare and social service workers face an increased risk of work-related assaults stemming from several factors, including:

  • the prevalence of handguns and other weapons — as high as 25% among patients, their families, and friends. Handguns are increasingly used by police and the criminal justice system for criminal holds and the care of acutely disturbed, violent individuals;
  • the increasing number of acute and chronically mentally ill patients now being released from hospitals without follow-up care, who now have the right to refuse medicine and who can no longer be hospitalized involuntarily unless they pose an immediate threat to themselves or others;
  • the availability of drugs or money at hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies, making staff and patients likely robbery targets;
  • situational and circumstantial factors such as:
    • unrestricted movement of the public in clinics and hospitals;
    • the increasing presence of gang members, drug or alcohol abusers, trauma patients, or distraught family members;
    • long waits in emergency or clinic areas, leading to client frustration over an inability to obtain needed services promptly;
  • low staffing levels during times of specific increased activity such as meal times, visiting times, and when staff is transporting patients. This also includes isolated work with clients during examinations or treatment;
  • solo work, often in remote locations, particularly in high crime settings, with no back up or means of obtaining assistance such as communication devices or alarm systems;
  • lack of training of staff in recognizing and managing escalating hostile and assaultive behavior; and
  • poorly lighted parking areas.

OSHA

The Guidelines established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) seek to set forth procedures leading to the elimination or reduction of worker exposure to conditions causing death or injury from violence by implementing effective security devices and administrative work practices, among other control measures. Healthcare professionals need to be aware that violence can occur anywhere and in any practice settings.

In hospitals and clinics, which are more likely to report incidents of violence than private offices, the most frequent sites are:

  • psychiatric wards;
  • acute care settings;
  • critical care units;
  • community health agencies;
  • homes for special care;
  • emergency rooms; and
  • waiting rooms and geriatric units.

Impact

The impact of workplace violence is far-reaching and affects individual staff members, co-workers, patients/clients, and their families. Those who have been affected, directly or indirectly, by a workplace violence incident report a broad spectrum of responses — anger is the most common. There are also reports of:

  • difficulty returning to work;
  • decreased job performance;
  • changes in relationships with co-workers;
  • sleep pattern disturbance;
  • helplessness and symptoms for post-traumatic stress disorders;
  • fear of other patients; and
  • fear of returning to the scene of the assault.

Assessment

Link: Chapter 07: Workplace Violence

More: Medical Workplace Violence

BREAKING NEWS: 3 shot in Alabama hospital *** Two die in Nev. hotel shooting

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On Sexual Violence Against Women

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The Hard Truths

International Women’s Day – March 8th – is a day that celebrates the achievements of women, but also raises awareness of the struggles and barriers to equality that still exist worldwide.

Sexual violence against women is a serious abuse of women’s human rights, and an injustice experienced by women around the world. On International Women’s Day 2012 ActionAid is saying NO to violence against women.

Assessment

Sexual violence against women is a serious abuse of women’s human rights, and an injustice experienced by women around the world. The infographic above aims to highlight the reality of sexual violence and the different ways that women – children, adolescents and adults – can be affected by sexual violence throughout their lives. The first step to change is education, so let’s share the hard truths about sexual violence.

Source: actionaid.org.au

Racism in Medicine: racistConclusion

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Killer Domestic Violence

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Awareness and Philanthropy Needed

We wish there were a huge philanthropy organization focused on Domestic Violence. Why?

DV is as much a killer as is cancer or diabetes or sepsis. What’s worse: it’s a primary root in violence at large – it breeds dictators, influences foreign policies, and mutilates childhood development. And, we wonder about it’s relatonship, if any, to medical workplace violence and abusive physician behavior as we’ve written about previously on this ME-P?

https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2011/04/06/medical-workplace-violence-prevention-guidelines/

Some would even argue that Domestic Violence is one of the largest Public Relations opportunity of all time. And, if you don’t understand what we mean, we’ve proven our point.

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psychopath

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Assessment

So, what is the solution to domestic civilian and medical workplace violence?

If you a victim of  Domestic Violence, click here

Conclusion

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Medical Workplace Violence Prevention Guidelines

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By Eugene Schmuckler; PhD MBA MEd CTS

By Dr. David E. Marcinko MBA

[Certified Trauma Specialist]   

The impact of medical workplace violence became widely exposed on November 6, 2009 when 39 year old Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal M. Hasan MD, a 1997 graduate of Virginia Tech University who received a medical doctorate in psychiatry from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, and served as an intern, resident and fellow at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the District of Columbia, went on a savage 100 round shooting spree and rampage that killed 13 people and injured 32 others. In April 2010 he was transferred to Bell County Jail in Belton, Texas awaiting trial.

Federal Government Guidelines

The federal government and some states have developed guidelines to assist employers with workplace violence prevention. For instance, one of the earliest sets of guidelines for a comprehensive workplace violence prevention program was published in 1993 by California OSHA. This resulted from the murder of a state employee. In 1996, Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers was published by OSHA.

Book Link:  www.BusinessofMedicalPractice.com

OSHA Guidelines

In its guidelines, OSHA sets forth the following essential elements for developing a violence prevention program:

  • Management commitment — as seen by high-level management involvement and support for a written workplace violence prevention policy and its implementation.
  • Meaningful employee involvement — in policy development, joint management-worker violence prevention committees, post-assault counseling and debriefing, and follow-up are all critical program components.
  • Worksite analysis — includes regular walk-through surveys of all patient care areas and the collection and review of all reports of worker assault. A successful job hazard analysis must include strategies and policies for encouraging the reporting of all incidents of workplace violence, including verbal threats that do not result in physical injury.
  • Hazard prevention and control — includes the installation and maintenance of alarm systems in high-risk areas. It may also include the training and posting of security personnel in emergency departments. Adequate staffing is an essential hazard prevention measure, as is adequate lighting and control of access to staff offices and secluded work areas.
  • Pre-placement and periodic training and education — must include educationally appropriate information regarding the risk factors for violence in the healthcare environment and control measures available to prevent violent incidents. Training should include skills in aggressive behavior identification and management, especially for staff working in the mental health and emergency departments.

On May 17, 1999, Governor Gary Locke signed the New Workplace Violence Prevention Act for the state of Washington. This act mandates that each healthcare setting in the state implement a plan to reasonably prevent and protect employees from violence.

 

New Washington Workplace Violence Prevention Act

According to this act, prevention plans need to address security considerations related to:

  • physical attributes of the healthcare setting;
  • staffing, including security staffing;
  • personnel policies;
  • first aid and emergency procedures;
  • reporting of violent acts; and
  • employee education and training.

Prior to the development of an actual plan, a security and safety assessment needs to be conducted to identify existing or potential hazards. The training component of the plan must include the following topics:

  • general safety procedures;
  • personal safety procedures;
  • the violence escalation cycle;
  • violence-predicting factors;
  • means of obtaining a patient history form from a patient with violent behavior;
  • strategies to avoid physical harm;
  • restraining techniques;
  • appropriate use of medications as chemical restraints;
  • documenting and reporting incidents;
  • the process whereby employees affected by a violent act may debrief;
  •  any resources available to employee for coping with violence; and
  • the healthcare setting’s workplace violence prevention plan.

Assessment

The act further mandates that any hospital operated and maintained by the State of Washington for the care of the mentally ill is required to provide violence prevention training to affected employees identified in the plan on a regular basis and prior.

Front Matter: Front Matter BoMP – 3 

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