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Half of Doctors Threatened by Patients

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Half of Doctors Threatened by Patients

Pills.

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Most Icelandic doctors have either been threatened or have colleagues who have received threats from patients, stated Þórarinn Ingólfsson, head of the Association of Icelandic Family Physicians. A new study, done for the Directorate of Health to look at physicians’ services in relation to addictive medication, shows that threats from patients are more common than was previously thought, RÚV reports.

More than half of the doctors who participated in the study have received threats from patients who try to get a prescription for addictive medication. Close to four percent of doctors have been threatened often or very often, and women have been threatened more often than men.

Þórarinn stated that fortunately, threats are the exception and violence is seldom involved. “Some allusion is made; they ask your name, say they know where you live or who your children are, or something of the sort, and then they make noise, slam doors, make threats or even use violence,” he explained.

Doctors who are on call or who assist police receive more threats than others.

He stated that clinics are responsible for their staff, so the physicians’ association can only recommend that they watch out for the staff’s safety and make sure they have a place to go to if they experience anything like this.

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