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August 26, 1992

Violence in the Hospital

Author Affiliations

Cleveland (Ohio) Clinic Foundation

JAMA. 1992;268(8):984-985. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490080052020

To the Editor.  —As a health care professional with more than 20 years' experience in four major American medical centers, I offer the following reflections on violence and health care. American society, perhaps more than any other society in the world, is characterized by its violence. A cultural propensity toward violence pervades all societal institutions, including medicine and health care. Although regrettable, it is therefore not unusual that health care professionals often find themselves witness to, victims of, and perhaps unquestioning participants in violence in the hospital setting. That medical care in itself can be extremely violent is often a shocking revelation for clinical newcomers as they watch patients sustain multiple violations of their bodies, the most brutal of which is perhaps cardiopulmonary resuscitation.1Another kind of violence in the hospital setting is interpersonal. Verbal and physical abuse toward medical students, residents, nurses, and other health care workers probably