Firearm injuries cost hospitals $16B over a nine-year period

Hospitals bear the brunt of firearm injuries, at least in costs, according to new research, which reveals U.S. hositals spent $16 billion over a nine-year period to treat the wounds.

The research was unveiled today at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting, according to News Medical. The report revealed that from 2000 to 2008, hospitals treated 275,939 gunshot victims at a cost of 

  • $16 billion in hospital resources--an average of $59,620 in medical costs per hospitalization; and
  • 1.7 million days of hospital service--an average of 6.7 days per patient, about one in three of whom were uninsured.

Researchers say the financial implications could be even greater than data suggests.

"The impact is probably much higher than $16 billion since the years of life lost, disability, lack of productivity, societal well-being and emotional turmoil associated with such injuries is far-reaching," said Min Kyeong Lee, one of the presenters. "This is one of the foremost reasons why healthcare costs in this country have gotten out of control and underlies the need for better preventive policies."

Data taken from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project shows high-risk individuals--adolescents, young adults, males, African-Americans and the uninsured--were most likely to be hospitalized with injuries, News Medical reported. Nearly 39 percent of hospitalizations occurred among 20- to 30-year-olds and men accounted for 89 percent of hospital visits. 

Gunshot wounds put about 7,500 children in the hospital and cause 500 in-hospital child deaths each year, according to U.S. News & World Report

Boys are more likely to fall victim to firearm injuries and death than girls--nearly 80 percent of children under 14 years old that die from gunshot wounds are boys, according to The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, as drawn from the National SAFE KIDS Campaign. 

To learn more:
- read the News Medical article
- check out The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia website
- read the U.S. News & World Report article