How can you Stay Safe as an Emergency Doctor

Sep 11, 2020
ER doctor Emergency doctor female doctor

Being alone with an Unstable Patient is scary.

Here are some recent incidents that have happened in the last two years in the U.S alone:

1. Woman suffered a concussion and whiplash injury after being head butted by a mentally ill patient.

2. ER doctor was punched in his jaw by an angry patient.

3. Resident doctor was choked by patient after medication change.

According to a survey of almost 4000 ER doctors, 50% of ER doctors said that they have been scratched, hit, bitten, stabbed, cut, or more! Some were attacked by families and have even died.

My uncle is a urologist surgeon and my cousin is a spinal surgeon. So I understand how challenging and necessary their work already is without the stress of being attacked.

  1. They deal with patients dying on an operation table.
  2. They work countless hours in the middle of the night.
  3. They perform time-sensitive & complicated surgeries.

It’s just as hard for non-surgical doctor who works at a hospital and does ER shifts. We need our doctors. While our doctors serve and protect us, we also need to serve and protect them. That’s the mission of Defense Ninjas!


Safety Tactics for an ER Doctor

Here are some things you can do as an ER doctor to protect yourself from injury:

  1. When you're with patients alone, make sure you have enough distance (if possible) while consulting, especially when you're giving them information that may severely upset them.

  2. If you're standing, you want to face your patient at a 45 degree angle to the bed so that you have the ability to move and they can only grab one side, not both (since the other side will be further away and harder to reach).

  3. Frame with your hands while talking. This creates a bubble.

  4. Know your environment. Situational awareness is important. This may sound hard when you're sleep deprived and rushing to an emergency. You have to focus on helping your patient. What helps you here is that your ENVIRONMENT is still the same. You know the corridors, the turns, how the rooms are setup, what potential "weapons" a patient can use - cords, needles, etc.

  5. Train! Learn how to get out of basic grabs and chokes so that you don't even have to think about it! It'll be in your muscle memory and you'll just know what to do and do it. Also learn restraining moves and tactics specific to your specialty and environment. Learn how to be wary of the corners of the bed, learn how to use your stethoscope, learn how to escape safely if someone pulls your lab coat or scrubs.

What's important is to learn techniques SPECIFIC to your profession. Here's what I advice you NOT DO.


What Not to Do Doctors

I'll just get to the point:

  1. Do not take a generic self-defense class - your life is at stake here. Make sure the program is fully customized to a doctor's scenarios.

  2. Do not learn martial arts kicks and punches. If you learn how to hurt your patient when you're actually trying to help them, you'll be hesitant and ineffective, putting both your and your patients' lives in danger.

  3. Do not just a sit-down workshop on safety. Theory is useless without practical learning. Your training needs both physical techniques, de-escalation techniques, and empowerment techniques so that you can show up as a person with a STRONG presence, which significantly reduces your chances of being attacked.

We provide Customized and Personalized Self-Defense Training for every doctor (and nurse) depending on your specialty so that you can be safe and do what you do BEST - SAVE LIVES! 👊 Are you a Nurse, ER Doctor, Surgeon, or Pre-Med Student? What's your story? Post in the comments below 👇 and we'll get you started for FREE!


Fauzia Lala is the Head Coach of Defense Ninjas, a self-defense expert, & an empowerment strategist based in Seattle. You can follow Defense Ninjas on Instagram and YouTube