The Perception of Doctor Bullying by Patients and Relatives at Malaysian Emergency Departments in Regional Referral Hospitals
Keywords:Bullying of doctors, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Abuse, Emergency Department, Malaysia
INTRODUCTION: Bullying can occur in terms of physical, verbal, mental, sexual, and/or litigation. The main objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of Emergency Department (ED) doctors being bullied by patients and/or relatives, the types of bullying faced and the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) it may have caused them. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study conducted in all 14 Malaysian state-tertiary government EDs. EDs were chosen as they encountered the maximum number of patients in hospitals. Data was obtained electronically among doctors randomized in each hospital. A validated questionnaire (POPAS-NZ) was used to determine the act of bullying and the impact of the most distressing event (IES-R scale) to detect PTSD. RESULTS: In total, 316 doctors participated in this study and the majority (98.7%) experienced some kind of bullying (98.1% faced verbal abuse). Among those bullied, 83.7% of doctors reported verbal abuse to be the most distressing event. Most of the preparators of the distressing incident were by accompanying relatives of patients (62.1%). Sexual abuse caused PTSD of concern- high enough to suppress the immune system. The final factors that were deemed to be significant to the mental abuse were age (p=0.03) and gender (p ≤ 0.001). Ladies had 2.69 times the odds (AOR 95% CI:1.57;4.60) to be mentally abused compared to men. Ladies had 5.50 times the odds (AOR 95% CI:1.88;16.11) to be sexually abused compared to men. CONCLUSION: Most doctors who worked in the ED faced bullying- commonest being verbal abuse. Sexual abuse caused the most distressing PTSD
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