We usually think of paramedics as the heroes who come to rescue us when there's a life-or-death emergency. But apparently, a lot of people think of paramedics as punching bags and potential hookups. According to a survey of over 1,300 Canadian paramedics in 2011, roughly two-thirds had experienced some kind of abuse on the job during the previous year - including patients trying to have sex with them while being rescued.

Here's what the survey found:

Verbal abuse was reported by 67.4 per cent of EMS workers surveyed, perpetrated by patients (62.9 per cent), patient family or friends (36.4 per cent), colleagues (20.8 per cent), and bystanders (5.8 per cent).

Intimidation was reported by 41.5 per cent, perpetrated by patients (37.8 per cent), patient family or friends (27 per cent), colleagues (45.3 per cent), and bystanders (3.4 per cent).

Physical abuse was reported by 26.1 per cent, perpetrated by patients (92.3 per cent), patient family or friends (11.1 per cent), colleagues (3.8 per cent), and bystanders (2.3 per cent).

Sexual harassment was reported by 13.6 per cent, perpetrated by patients (64.7 per cent), patient family or friends (18.4 per cent), colleagues (41.2 per cent), and bystanders (8.8 per cent).

Sexual assault was reported by 2.7 per cent, perpetrated by patients (88.9 per cent), patient family or friends (7.4 per cent), colleagues (14.8 per cent), and bystanders (2.7per cent).

70 percent of the paramedics surveyed were male, and their median age was 34. Remember, the incidents they reported were only in the past year, which means that each year paramedics put themselves in harm's way.

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Read the scientific paper on this paramedic survey in Prehospital Emergency Care.

Photo by corepics via Shuterstock