Survivors of Torture: Prevalence in an Urban Emergency Department

Academic Emergency Medicine
Volume 19, Issue 10, Article first published online: 25 SEP 2012
Survivors of Torture: Prevalence in an Urban Emergency Department
Braden Hexom, MD, Dinali Fernando, MD, MPH, Alex F. Manini, MD, MS, and Lars K. Beattie, MD, MS
 
This article examines attempts to estimate the prevalence of survivors of torture presenting to an urban ED. Through data collected at Elmhurst Hospital (home of Libertas Center) in New York, the authors concluded that self-reported survivors of torture did present to that urban ED. A significant proportion of them met the UNCAT definition of a torture survivor. Continuing torture-related medical and psychological sequelae were identified, yet there was a low rate of asylum-seeking. Only a minority were previously identified by a physician. These data suggest an unrecognized public health concern and an opportunity for emergency physicians to intervene and refer survivors of torture to existing community resources.
 
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