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HEALTH

‘Women to blame if they suffer abuse’: study

A third of the staff working in Sweden's largest hospital emergency room believe it's the woman's fault if she is physically abused, according to a new Swedish study.

'Women to blame if they suffer abuse': study

The study, in which staff at Stockholm South General Hospital (Södersjukhuset) participated, also found that one in ten emergency room staffers don’t believe healthcare workers have a responsibility to investigate how a woman’s injuries occurred.

“The study shows that we still have a lot of work to do in terms of people’s attitudes,” Maaret Castrén, a professor in emergency medicine who works with clinical research and training at Stockholm South General, told Sveriges Radio (SR).

Every year, between 15 and 20 women are killed by their partners in Sweden and roughly half of those victims had sought care in the Swedish health system for previous abuse.

In Sweden, hospital emergency rooms are often the first – and sometimes only – point of contact for abused women in the Swedish healthcare system, according to SR.

But a new study, which included responses from 217 emergency room workers, most of whom work at Stockholm South General Hospital, has raised concerns about how healthcare workers view female abuse victims and the role the workers play in supporting them.

“I was somewhat surprised that it’s still considered not to be our job to investigate the cause of women’s injuries and that people still think that women’s behaviour in some way gives a man the right to hit them,” Castrén told SR.

According to Castrén, there isn’t enough emphasis placed on the issue, either during on-the-job training at the hospital, or in basic medical education.

Professor Gun Heimer, head of the Centre for Knowledge on Men’s Violence Against Women (Nationellt centrum för kvinnofrid – NCK) at Uppsala University, told SR that the study is in line with results from studies conducted in other countries.

She added, however, that Sweden should have come farther than other countries in training healthcare workers about violence against women and that the results of the study shows the need for additional measures.

“What’s important with the study is that the results are highlighted and we can see that this is how things are and now we have to be better,” she told SR.

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HEALTH

Sweden records world’s first case of bird flu in a porpoise

A porpoise found stranded on a Swedish beach in June died of bird flu, the first time the virus has been detected in one of the marine mammals, Sweden's National Veterinary Institute said on Wednesday.

Sweden records world's first case of bird flu in a porpoise

“As far as we know this is the first confirmed case in the world of bird flu in a porpoise,” veterinarian Elina Thorsson said in a statement. “It is likely that the porpoise somehow came into contact with infected birds,” she said.

The young male was found stranded, alive, on a beach in western Sweden in late June. Despite efforts from the public to get it to swim out to deeper
waters, it was suffering from exhaustion and died the same evening.

The bird flu virus, H5N1, was found in several of its organs. “Contrary to seals, where illnesses caused by a flu virus have been detected multiple times, there have been only a handful of reports of flu virus in cetaceans”, Thorsson said.

The virus has also previously been detected in other mammals, including red foxes, otters, lynx and skunks, the institute said.

Europe and North America are currently seeing a vast outbreak of bird flu among wild birds.

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