Violent Experiences Suffered by Pre-Hospital Healthcare Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Yilmaz S., Coban G. S., ÜNAL ÇOLAK F., Hokenek N. M., Rohat A.

DISASTER MEDICINE AND PUBLIC HEALTH PREPAREDNESS, vol.17, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 17
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1017/dmp.2023.200
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, PASCAL, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


Objective:This work was carried out to determine the causes of violence against Prehospital Emergency Medical Services Personnel (PHEMSP) who performed their duties without any special security measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, and who were subjected to violence because of their work.Method:The approach of this research is in accordance with case study design, which is concerned with the examination of unique cases. For this study, a volunteer announcement was made on social media for PHEMSPs from 3 different branches (Emergency Medical Technicians or EMTs, paramedics, and doctors) who had been actively working in ambulances during the transportation of COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic, and who had declared that they were subjected to verbal abuse or physical violence. The data was collected through structured interviews from 60 voluntary participants.Results:As a result of the analysis of the data, 3 main themes were revealed as the source of violence that PHEMSPs had been exposed to during the pandemic. They are the following: (1) violence caused by the nature of the disease, (2) violence caused by society, and (3) violence caused by working areas and systems. The reasons which created these themes, were accepted as codes. The codes that arose due to the theme of (1) violence caused by the nature of the disease were 'the fear of contagion,' 'the requirement for disinfection,' and 'triage problems,' which caused both verbal abuse and physical violence. In addition to these codes, the code of 'stigma' due to protective equipment was found only to elicit verbal abuse. The codes for the theme (2) 'violence caused by society,' were determined as societal perceptions regarding high wages, attempts to misuse health services, and distrust. All 3 of these codes were found to evoke both verbal abuse and physical violence. The codes for the theme (3) 'violence caused by working areas and systems,' included team mismatch in PHEMSPs, resignation ban, and long working hours, as well as mismatch between in-hospital HCWs and PHEMSPs, mobbing, feeling unsupported, and gender disadvantage. It has been revealed among these codes that only the team mismatch in PHEMSPs caused both verbal abuse and physical violence, while all the others only lead to verbal abuse.Conclusion:If a 0 tolerance for 'violence in the healthcare system' is to be targeted, it should start in the pre-hospital phase and with all PHEMSPs, since this is the 0 point where the healthcare system, and patients first meet. Additionally, this group should be considered a vulnerable group for workplace violence (WPV), especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.