Rising anger, violence toward healthcare workers hurt patient care

Increasing anger and even violence toward health care workers in South Dakota and across the U.S. is adding great stress on practitioners who are already enduring the pain and hardship of providing care during the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

Health care workers in South Dakota have been called offensive names, faced threats at work or at home, had things thrown at them, and occasionally have endured direct physical violence. The aggression is being displayed by both patients and family members.

In the short term, dealing with inappropriate behavior takes the focus of doctors, nurses and aides away from patients who need help. In the long term, the outbursts are driving some health care professionals out of the field, worsening a worker shortage that threatens to reduce overall patient care and efficiency of the American medical system.

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