By Nancy Shute, NPR
On Saturday night, the emergency room staff knows all too well what’s coming — people showing up with a broken jaw, a knife wound or a bashed-in face, often after too many hours in a pub. Doctors at the emergency department in Cardiff, Wales, realized that many of the people who were injured in fights never reported it to the police. That realization led to a simple program that has radically reduced the toll of violence.
The hospital already had information on where and how people in the emergency room had been injured — “which bar, which club, which street, which park, which school,” says Dr. Jonathan Shepherd, a professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at Cardiff University and an author of the study.
Many people who are injured in a fight never reported it to police, it turned out. That was particularly true with fights happening inside pubs and clubs. “They don’t know who the perpetrator was, so what’s the point of going to the police?” Shepherd tells Shots. “And they’re afraid of having their own conduct scrutinized. If it’s a fist fight or gang related or drug related, nobody’s going to want to go to the police.” Continue reading