AAOS renews call to protect healthcare workers in wake of fatal shooting


Following the fatal shooting of a Tennessee hand surgeon, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons expressed support for stronger protections for physicians and other healthcare professionals.

In a July 12 statement, AAOS President Kevin Bozic, MD, extended condolences to Dr. Mauck's family, Campbell Clinic and the Collierville, Tenn., community.

"Dr. Mauck was a dedicated physician, colleague and valued member of our orthopedic organization, and his commitment to healing and devotion to the well-being of his patients touched countless lives," Dr. Bozic said in the statement. "His death leaves an irreplaceable void."

Dr. Bozic also made a call to action to protect healthcare workers and their patients.

"We cannot stand by idly as threats of violence against our members and their patients proliferate with little consequence," he wrote. "A physician's office should be a safe haven for physicians, healthcare teams and patients, and we need to do all that we can to further prevent these tragedies now and in the future."

Gun violence against healthcare workers has increased globally, with 2022 being the worst year on record for personnel, according to the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition. And between 2011 to 2018, the rate of injuries from attacks against healthcare workers rose 63 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

In a 2022 survey of AAOS members, 4 in 10 respondents said they experienced some type of violence within the last 12 months. Last year, spine surgeon Preston Phillips, MD, was fatally shot by a patient. 

"The rise in workplace violence, coupled with its effects on healthcare workers and the inevitable consequences for society writ large, is of major concern to the AAOS and all healthcare stakeholders," Dr. Bozic said.

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