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Physicians With Disabilities Experience More Mistreatment

Physicians with disabilities reported physical and sexual mistreatment from both coworkers and patients

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 19, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Physicians with disabilities had a significantly higher likelihood of experiencing every type of mistreatment from both patients and coworkers, according to a study published online in the October issue of Health Affairs.

Lisa M. Meeks, from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and colleagues used data from a nationally representative sample of 5,851 physicians to examine workplace mistreatment experienced by physicians with disabilities and determine whether physicians with disabilities are more likely to experience mistreatment in their workplace than physicians without disabilities.

The researchers found that the majority of physicians with disabilities reported at least one type of mistreatment (64 percent) and were more likely to experience all types of mistreatment both from coworkers and from patients, compared with nondisabled physicians. Physicians with disabilities were more likely to have been threatened with physical harm by coworkers (odds ratio [OR], 8.03) and patients (OR, 2.6) and were more than 17 times more likely to have been physically harmed by coworkers and 6.5 times more likely to have been physically harmed by patients. Physicians with disabilities were 5.8 times more likely to be subjected to unwanted sexual advances from coworkers and 3.6 times more likely from patients versus their nondisabled peers.

“Our findings suggest the need for disability-focused anti-mistreatment policies and practices,” the authors write.

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