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August 20, 1997

Assessment of Domestic Violence at the Scene of Domestic Assaults-Reply

Author Affiliations

Methodist Hospital
University of Memphis Memphis, Tenn

JAMA. 1997;278(7):547-548. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550070039027

The data presented by Dr Datner and colleagues reinforce previous studies that show that a crisis due to domestic violence can be a life-threatening event but often is not treated like one.1 The emergency interventions that they studied, just like the ones that we observed, probably were carried out by police with minimal, if any, involvement by health care workers. Our observations have led us to conclude that a crisis due to domestic violence is as much a health emergency as it is a police emergency. Even though domestic violence typically is a chronic condition punctuated by intermittent crises, developing an effective acute response to the crises may be the first step to generating effective interventions and preventive strategies.2 This certainly has been the case with other life—threatening conditions such as heart disease and depression.

We have begun to explore novel interventions linked to 911 calls for