Work-related injuries sustained by emergency medical technicians and paramedics in Turkey

Ulus Travma Acil Cerrahi Derg. 2016 Mar;22(2):145-9. doi: 10.5505/tjtes.2015.94224.

Abstract

Background: Evaluated in the present study were locations, descriptions, and results of work-related injuries (WRIs) sustained by emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics in Turkey's most crowded city, İstanbul.

Methods: After the present study had been accepted by the urban health authority, a questionnaire was emailed to the healthcare personnel of İstanbul's 195 ambulance stations.

Results: Included in the present study were the responses of 901 members of staff (660 EMTs and 241 paramedics), with a mean age of 29.5±6.1 (min: 18; max: 61). The majority of participants (94.9%) had encountered verbal abuse from the public, and 39.8% had encountered physical violence from patients' relatives. Levels of satisfaction with work in emergency medical services (EMS) was also evaluated, and 510 participants (57.6%) were unhappy. Regarding gender, female employees were more likely to be verbally attacked (p=0.01), while males were more likely to be physically attacked (p=0.001). It was reported that motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) were the most common cause of WRIs (81.4%), followed by needle-stick injuries (52.2%), ocular exposure to blood and other fluids (30.9%), and sharp injuries (22.5%). Only 10.5% (n=95) of WRIs were reported to authorities; 488 (54.2%) of participants just attended to the practice to prevent possible WRIs.

Conclusion: For paramedics and EMTs, risk of WRI is obviously high. Strategies to decrease and prevent verbal and physical violence should be developed.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Allied Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Emergency Medical Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Emergency Medical Technicians / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Injuries / prevention & control
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Turkey / epidemiology
  • Urban Population
  • Young Adult