Missed the last newsletter?
Return of the King
When will it stop? Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann is the latest casualty of a hospital assault, after being king hit in the foyer of Box Hill Hospital in Melbourne. He is currently fighting for his life in the ICU at The Alfred Hospital, and his ordeal has raised further concerns about the lack of security and protection for hospital staff.
10 seconds, tell me everything…
Dr Pritzwald-Stegmann was allegedly punched after requesting a man to stop smoking at the front entrance of the hospital. The culprit? Joseph Esmaili, a 22-year-old man who, per his lawyer, suffers from psychiatric illnesses and drug withdrawal. CCTV cameras captured the entire incident and now Esmaili remains in custody, awaiting a committal hearing scheduled for August 2017.
History repeats itself
In 2015/16, there were 8627 reports of occupational violence in hospitals around Australia, and of those cases, 1166 resulted in staff injury or illness. There could be more, considering the culture of under-reporting attacks amongst health workers. Neurosurgeon Dr Michael Wong was almost killed in Melbourne when he was stabbed in 2014 by a mentally ill patient. Like Dr Pritzwald-Stegmann, he too was attacked in the foyer. It’s clear we need a solution, regardless of the medical condition of the perpetrator.
Every action needs a reaction
The Australian Medical Association has condemned the attack, saying violence has become an unnecessarily common occurrence within hospitals. Data undoubtedly shows that health professionals are at a greater risk of violence than patients. Despite Health Minister Jill Hennessy previously pumping 20 million dollars in 2016 to boost hospital security, it’s evident that more needs to be done. There must be a proper plan and structure in order to design new safety measures at hospitals around Australia.
For most of us, the hospital is our second home, considering the hours spent treating and advocating for our patients. We too have families and friends, and our health and safety is just as important as the people we look after. Our prayers are with Dr Pritzwald-Stegmann and his family, and we hope his story prompts necessary change for all the hospitals in Australia.
I call Goopshit
Man or Machine?
Dr Tom Catena is a machine. In a single year, he performed more than 1000 operations in Sudan, while working as a Catholic missionary from New York. He is the only permanent doctor in Nuba Mountains (a population of 750,000 people), working in a region where the government is in constant dispute with the rebels. He doesn’t mess around and we agree that he is a worthy recipient of the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity. When’s the last time you worked without an X-Ray machine, a telephone or even running water?