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ISRN Emergency Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 976518, 3 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/976518
Clinical Study

Emergency Room Admission of On-Duty Police at a Swiss University Hospital

Department of Emergency Medicine, Inselspital, University Hospital Bern, 3010 Bern, Switzerland

Received 17 January 2012; Accepted 15 February 2012

Academic Editors: L. V. Downey and S. C. Shapira

Copyright © 2012 Aristomenis K. Exadaktylos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background. Police and law enforcement officers may face physical violence and multiple occupational hazards in the line of duty. There is no nationwide statistical reporting of police officers’ injuries in Switzerland. The aim of this study was to describe the epidemiological features of emergency room admissions of on-duty police officers. Methods. The retrospective analysis was based on the prospective database of the Emergency Department of Bern University Hospital. Fifty-seven (57) police officers presenting to our department were included and analysed. Results. Minor blunt trauma (32/57) associated with extremity trauma was the leading cause of admission to our emergency department. 16 body fluid born exposures with a possible risk of viral transmission were reported, with 12/16 cases during summer; serological testing for HBV, HCV, and HIV was negative in all cases. No police death was reported. Conclusions. Police officers are exposed to occupational hazards. In comparison to other countries the number of severely injured or killed officers is very low. In the light of the daily reports in the lay media about assaulted police officers, it may be assumed that the majority of injured police officers were treated by general practitioners outside the hospital or treated by themselves. An adequate injury prevention strategy is desirable, combined with more meticulous nationwide reporting of police officers’ injuries.