American children pay a heavy price for gun violence
The initial hospitalization costs for gunshot wounds in children in the United States averaged $ 109 million per year, according to a study published June 23, 2021 in the open access journal. PLOS ONE by Jordan S. Taylor and colleagues at Stanford University School of Medicine, USA
Gun violence is a huge problem for American children: Across the world, nine in ten children under the age of 15 killed by guns were in the United States. This study is one of the first to characterize the cost of an initial hospitalization following a firearm injury. in American children 18 and under over time, and to identify factors that may contribute to the variation in costs.
To do this, the authors used data from the National Pediatric Inpatient Health Care Costs and Utilization Database (the largest publicly available all-payer hospital pediatric care database). in the United States, sampling up to 80% of pediatric discharges from over 4,100 U.S. hospitals.), specifically examining patients 18 and under admitted for gun-related injuries from 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2012 (representing between 36 and 44 states depending on the year). They compared demographics and discharge level, including injury severity score, length of hospital stay, income quartile, injury intent, and hospital costs adjusted for l inflation in four age groups (0-5, 6-9, 10-15, 16-18 years).
19,015 pediatric patients aged 18 and under were admitted to hospital for gun-related injuries during the study period, representing approximately 4,753 pediatric gun-related admissions each year. Assault was the reason given for 63% of admissions; unintentional injuries accounted for 26% of admissions; self-inflicted injuries, three percent. 47 percent of all patients had a length of hospital stay (DS) of four days or more. The median hospitalization cost was $ 12,984 per patient, with initial annual hospitalization costs for pediatric firearm injuries of approximately $ 109 million over the study period. (The authors note that inflation-adjusted hospital costs increased significantly over the study period (p
The costs reported here represent the initial hospitalization only and do not take into account the costs of subsequent admissions, patients discharged directly from the emergency department, or patients who died prior to admission. Additional financial burdens such as time lost at work for adolescents and parents, rehabilitation, long-term disability costs and non-hospital resources (e.g. first responders) are also not taken into account in these data.
Even with these limitations, it is clear that gun injuries among young Americans 18 and under are a significant public health problem and financial burden. The authors hope that this and future work will lead to effective prevention legislation and programs.
The authors add: “Among the devastating toll of gun injuries, what we often don’t consider are the financial consequences that flow from it. Our study found that the United States spends almost $ 110 million each year on initial hospital costs for children with gunshot wounds. These costs are even higher if one takes into account the costs associated with lost work and mental health. Among young children (children under 10), the majority of firearm-related hospitalizations were due to accidents. By encouraging safer gun storage practices, we can reduce unintentional harm to our curious young children, and in so doing, also reduce an area of rising health care spending in the United States. “
Citation: Taylor JS, Madhavan S, Han RW, Chandler JM, Tenakoon L, Chao S (2021) Financial Burden of Pediatric Firearm Injury Admissions in the United States. PLoS A 16 (6): e0252821. https: /
Funding: The authors did not receive any specific funding for this work.
Competing interests: The authors have declared that there is no competing interest.
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