Philadelphia Physician Stabbed By Patient

25 Feb, 2021 Liz Carey


Philadelphia, PA ( – A Pennsylvania Hospital physician is recovering today after being stabbed multiple times by a patient Tuesday afternoon.

Philadelphia Police said the doctor was treating the patient when they stabbed her in the head and face. It is still unclear what led up to the attack.

The physician was not named. The patient, police said, is in custody.

But healthcare professionals are not surprised by the attack.

Dr. Theodore Christopher, chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Jefferson University Hospital told CBSPhilly that violence against healthcare workers is common.

“I would venture to say 80% or most of us have either been assaulted or been the victim of some sort of violence by a patient,” Christopher said. “I think more recently there has been a call to report these things and these items, but I would say less than a third of doctors and nurses probably report these incidents.”

According to the CDC, in 2016, 16,890 workers in private industry experienced violence in the workplace that required days off of work. Of those, 70 percent were in healthcare or social assistance. According to some reports, 71 percent of physicians in the U.S. experienced at least one incident of violence at some point in their career, while 82 percent of nurses said they had been assaulted at least once during their careers. For physicians, the rate of violence is highest in the emergency departments and among less-experienced physicians.

Studies have shown that the most common acts of violence against nurses by patients were shouting (60 percent), swearing (53.5 percent) and grabbing. Nurses also face violence from visitors, the studies show.

“It’s reached a crisis point at this time I think because of the temperature in the country and what’s going on in the country and the violence that we are seeing here in Philadelphia,” Christopher said.

The World Health Organization called for an end to the violence against healthcare providers around the world in November of 2019, and in July 2020, the organization said it was seeing increased attacks on healthcare workers globally due to COVID-19. In June 2020, the International Committee of the Red Cross published a checklist for healthcare providers to help them stay safe during the COVID-19 response.

Penn Medicine said in a statement that it is working closely with the police and that the physician was treated quickly by staff. No other patients or staff were harmed or put in danger at any time, the hospital said.


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    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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