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Differences in severity, health care utilization for firearm injuries, other penetrating trauma in kids

October 09, 2019

Bottom Line: Pediatric firearm injuries were associated with greater severity and health care utilization than other penetrating trauma suffered by children caused by cutting or piercing, such as with a knife. This observational study used national trauma data in the United States from 2007 through 2016 to analyze 25,155 hospital encounters for firearm injury and 21,270 encounters for a cut or pierce injury in children 17 years old or younger. Firearm injuries were more likely to require admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) and have a higher degree of severity, as well as longer hospital and ICU stays, compared to cut or pierce injuries. Bullets have more force than many other weapons used to inflict a cut or pierce injury. Limitations of the study include that the data aren't fully comprehensive. Study authors suggest pediatric firearm injuries can be reduced through legislative efforts, safe gun storage practices and community-based interventions.

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Authors: Ashley E. Wolf, M.D., formerly of Seattle Children's Hospital, University of Washington, Seattle, but now at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, and coauthors

(doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.12850)

Editor's Note: The article includes conflict of interest disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.
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Media advisory: To contact corresponding author Ashley E. Wolf, M.D., email press@seattlechildrens.org. The full study is linked to this news release.

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About JAMA Network Open: JAMA Network Open is the new online-only open access general medical journal from the JAMA Network. Every Wednesday and Friday, the journal publishes peer-reviewed clinical research and commentary in more than 40 medical and health subject areas. Every article is free online from the day of publication.

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