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Serious violence is 4x more common in health care settings than private-sector workplaces

Emergency room stretcher rolling into a hospital
Photo: Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Image

Hospitals can be volatile and dangerous places to work, and there's not necessarily any one solution to that problem.

By the numbers: Serious violence is 4 times more common in health care settings than in private-sector workplaces overall, Modern Healthcare reports — and that’s only counting violence severe enough to require time off.

  • "Daily, literally daily, we're exposed to violent outbursts, in particular in our emergency rooms," Cleveland Clinic CEO Tom Mihaljevic said.

What they're saying: Hospitals generally have to come up with their own solutions, because they each have to balance their specific risks against their specific facilities and operations.

  • They've tried "panic buttons, badge access to certain areas, limited guest hours, metal detectors, police presence, security cameras, de-escalation training, emergency preparedness and more," per Modern Healthcare.
  • There's a bill in the California legislature to increase the criminal penalties for attacking a health care worker inside a hospital. It would bring those consequences in line with the penalties for attacking a first responder in an emergency.
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