Orthopedists Missing Domestic Violence Injuries
Biloine W. Young • Mon, December 2nd, 2013
Domestic violence is the most common cause of nonfatal injuries among women, according to the World Health Organization. Yet only about 25% of orthopedic trauma surgeons have the training required to recognize broken bones caused by domestic abuse.
A study conducted at the University of Missouri found that 74% of orthopedic surgeons believed that only 5% or fewer of their patients were victims of domestic abuse. Yet when the patients were questioned, 40% of North American patients at orthopedic trauma clinics said that they had experienced domestic violence.
Robert Preidt, writer for Long Island Newsday, quoted Gregor Della Rocca, M.D., an associate professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Missouri School of Medicine as saying in a university news release, “In the United States, most orthopedic surgeons receive training in techniques for recognizing signs of child abuse, but training to recognize abuse of adults is far less common.”
Della Rocca’s team surveyed 153 orthopedic trauma surgeons, mostly in North America, and asked them about their ability to recognize and respond to signs of intimate-partner violence. They also questioned the doctors about their beliefs about the causes of domestic violence and asked them to estimate how many of their patients suffered these kinds of injuries.
“In our study, we found that most orthopedic surgeons believe identifying injuries caused by domestic violence is an important aspect of providing medical care, and they also believe that receiving education to recognize signs of intimate-partner violence could help them to stop violence in some cases,” Della Rocca told Preidt. .He added, “only 23% of the surgeons we surveyed had received any training on recognizing and responding to intimate-partner violence.”
The researchers published their study in the journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research.