Fri | Dec 13, 2019

Jamaica Emergency Medicine Association condemns attack on doctors

Published:Friday | November 15, 2019 | 10:39 AM

The Jamaica Emergency Medicine Association, which represents emergency medical first responders, has come out in support of the medical doctor at the Bustamante Hospital for Children who was verbally assaulted by a mother with a sick child who sought medical attention for her infant son last weekend.

The confrontation resulted in the Accident and Emergency unit being shut down for two hours.

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The association, in a release this morning, said it notes the apology of Kari Douglas, the mother of the sick child, to the medical staff at the hospital but maintains that the incident was unfortunate and was “borne out of a lack of control and respect.”

According to the association, this type of behaviour is far to prevalent in the island’s emergency rooms and many such incidents are under reported.

“This has given rise to what was once unthinkable, as open threats, verbal abuse and frank disrespect have become the new custom and we strongly believe that offensive behaviour should not be condoned and the JEMA refuses to regard this as being acceptable in our emergency rooms,” the association said.

The association pushed back at reports that emergency room workers are arrogant, callous, inconsiderate and unsympathetic, despite several claims from individuals of disrespect in hospitals.

“....While we are fully focused on the issue at hand, our approach is purely professional which may be misconstrued as being otherwise. We believe most of these misconceptions stem from a lack of knowledge and understanding of the systems we use to operate our emergency rooms efficiently,” said JEMA.

It explained that one vital component of emergency evaluation is through the process of triage, where patients are evaluated according to the severity of their complaints.

Patients with life-threatening issues are given priority.

“As an association, we stand firmly committed to defending the rights of the emergency medical workers and to uphold the standard of our professional care and wish to re-emphasise our stance of zero-tolerance of any aggressive or violent behaviour toward any emergency room worker.” 

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