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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 61-67

Measuring the awareness of emergency department physicians toward the management of medicolegal cases in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

1 Consultant of Forensic Medicine, Department of Forensic Medicine, Jeddah Forensic Medicine Center, Ministry of Health, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2 Associate Professor of Forensic Medicine, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Assistant Professor of Forensic Medicine, Department of Forensic Medicine and Clinical Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt
3 Medical Researcher, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mamdouh Kamal Zaki
2502-Al-Faisaleyah District, Zip Code 23442, Additional Number 8859, Jeddah
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjfms.sjfms_13_18

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Background: Worldwide, there is a great discrepancy between the hospital and forensic reporting. The medical team priority is saving the lives of victims especially in case of fatal or dangerous wounding. Hence, minimal documentation will be expected under these conditions. Objective: The aim of this study was to measure the awareness of emergency department (ED) physicians toward the legal and ethical aspects of the management of medicolegal cases, assessment of physical and sexual abuse, photo-documentation, and management of forensic evidence in emergency circumstances. This is the first study to investigate this critical topic in Jeddah City, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Methodology: The authors accomplished a cross-sectional study in EDs in major Jeddah hospitals during April–May 2017. The authors used a self-administrated questionnaire and used the Survey-Monkey engine and SPSS Statistics for data gathering and statistical analysis, respectively. Results: A total of 137 ED physicians from the main four general hospitals in Jeddah participated in the study. Most of the physicians were males. Most of the participants did not receive any training program in writing medicolegal reports in ED. About two-thirds of the respondents were certain that their workplace provided a specified protocol about collecting evidence from a medicolegal case until referral to forensic medical centers. On the other hand, 86.1% did not have any training program in evidence collection in EDs. Most of the participants believed that they needed more training programs concerning management of medicolegal cases at ED. Conclusion: Although the level of awareness is significantly high, more than half of the physicians considered that the current approach of medicolegal cases was inappropriate. Medical students and residents need more training programs in medicolegal reporting and chain of custody as well as for specialists and consultants.

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