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MU study finds domestic violence more common among orthopedic trauma patients than surgeons think
Date:11/11/2013

COLUMBIA, Mo. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 30 percent of women in North and South America experience intimate partner violence during their lifetimes. In North America, domestic violence also is the most common cause of non-fatal injuries among women, often resulting in broken bones.

However, research from the University of Missouri has found 74 percent of orthopaedic trauma surgeons, who treat many victims of domestic violence, substantially underestimate the prevalence of domestic violence injuries among their patients, and only 23 percent had training to recognize such injuries.

"In our study, we found that most orthopaedic 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," said Gregory Della Rocca, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at the MU School of Medicine and co-director of orthopaedic trauma services at MU Health Care. "In the United States, most orthopaedic surgeons receive training in techniques for recognizing signs of child abuse, but training to recognize abuse of adults is far less common. Only 23 percent of the surgeons we surveyed had received any training on recognizing and responding to intimate partner violence."

The study was based on a survey of 153 orthopaedic trauma surgeons, mostly in North America. The respondents were asked questions about the importance and ability for medical professionals to recognize and respond to signs of intimate partner violence, their beliefs about the causes of domestic violence, and estimates about the prevalence of domestic-violence injuries among their patients.

An international study of the prevalence of intimate partner violence among orthopaedic trauma clinics recently published in The Lancet found
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Contact: Colin Planalp
planalpc@health.missouri.edu
573-884-1935
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

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