Friday, June 22, 2012

Task Force Recommends Doctors Ask Women About Abuse

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends physicians ask their female patients if they are experiencing or have ever experienced intimate partner violence during checkups, Reuters reports.

A recent review by the task force found that when physicians screen for domestic abuse, victims are more likely to seek help and less likely to suffer more physical or mental harm. The report adds that doctors’ offices provide a private, safe, and confidential atmosphere for abused women.

Nancy Dickey, MD, says it is important for doctors to take the time to listen and ask female patients if everything is OK. “If we can’t [make the time for patients], then our patients will never get the value that they really ought to get,” she says.

Intimate partner violence is not a rare phenomenon. The Commonwealth Fund estimates 31 percent of U.S. women experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.

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