Intimate Partner Violence and Orthopaedics
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One in 50 women presenting to an orthopaedic clinic with an injury have been injured from intimate partner violence (IPV). This number does not include the additional patients who have experienced psychological or emotional abuse. Musculoskeletal injuries, such as fractures, sprains, strains, and dislocations, are the second-most prevalent injury type after head and neck injuries that occur after physical violence. Therefore, it is incumbent on health-care workers who provide care in fracture clinics to recognize musculoskeletal manifestations of IPV. Given the serial follow-up assessments for routine fracture care, orthopaedic surgeons are uniquely positioned to provide assistance to these patients. Escalating violence is the single greatest predictor of intimate partner homicide. Identification of patients at risk for IPV and provision of resources beyond their orthopaedic needs may reduce ongoing harm to our patients.
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