There has been anecdotal evidence of it for years: that paramedics, responding to high-stress medical situations out in public, can be targeted by the anger of patients, family or bystanders.
Now, a new survey of paramedics has uncovered solid numbers to back this up
“A lot of verbal abuse, sexual harassment, things of that nature, and we’re seeing an increase in that here in Peterborough and we’re not going to tolerate that.”
Dr. Blair Bigham, resident emergency physician at McMaster University, was part of the team that crunched the numbers on violence . Bigham, who has worked as a paramedic, said he’s found the physical and verbal assaults to which he was exposed were one of the worst parts of the job.
“It’s no so much the patient who is dying of a traumatic injury that I find stressful, it’s the conflict that I have with people on the scene, with other health care providers trying to get the best care for that patient” Bigham said.
Chief Mellow went on to say it’s important that the paramedics themselves realize that being physically or verbally abused while working should not be written off as simply “part of the job.” Unrecognized, it can contribute to post-traumatic stress disorder.