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AAOS President: Workplace Violence In Health Care Settings Must Be Addressed

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The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) has developed a workplace violence toolkit to Help protect health care facilities.

Earlier this month, orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Benjamin Mauck was the victim of a deadly shooting at a healthcare clinic in Collierville, Tennessee. In response to this and other recent incidents of mass shootings and workplace violence, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) has developed a toolkit to help ensure orthopaedic practices and health care facilities remain places of comfort, healing, and learning.

“We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family of Benjamin M. Mauck, MD, FAAOS, patients, Campbell Clinic staff and the entire Collierville community during this difficult time of sadness and pain,” said AAOS President Kevin J. Bozic, MD, MBA, FAAOS. “Dr. Mauck was a dedicated physician, colleague and valued member of our orthopaedic organization, and his commitment to healing and devotion to the well-being of his patients touched countless lives. His death leaves an irreplaceable void. 

“We cannot stand by idly as threats of violence against our members and their patients proliferate with little consequence,” he continued. “A physician’s office should be a safe haven for physicians, health care teams and patients, and we need to do all that we can to further prevent these tragedies now and in the future.”

(Source: Adobe Stock / Andrey Popov)

Advocacy efforts towards passing critical legislation like the Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees (SAVE) Act — which aims to protect health care employees from assault and intimidation — are imperative and will be a focus of AAOS’ 2023 Orthopaedic Advocacy Week, July 24-28. The SAVE Act would establish legal penalties for assaulting or intimidating hospital employees or those contracted by a hospital, the same protections that apply to flight crews and airline employees.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of injuries from violent attacks against medical professionals grew by 63% from 2011 to 2018. According to hospital safety directors, aggression against staff escalated as the COVID-19 pandemic intensified in 2020. In a 2022 work environment and culture survey of all AAOS members, four of 10 respondents reported that they had experienced some type of violence within the previous 12 months.

“The rise in workplace violence, coupled with its effects on health care workers and the inevitable consequences for society writ large is of major concern to the AAOS and all health care stakeholders,” concluded Bozic.

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