Associated Press: Guns send over 8,000 US kids to ER each year, analysis says
By Lindsey Tanner
Gun injuries, including many from assaults, sent 75,000 U.S. children and teens to emergency rooms over nine years at a cost of almost $3 billion, a first-of-its-kind study found.
Researchers called it the first nationally representative study on ER visits for gun injuries among U.S. kids. They found that more than one-third of the wounded children were hospitalized and 6 percent died.
The researchers found that 11 of every 100,000 children and teens treated in U.S. emergency rooms have gun-related injuries. That amounts to about 8,300 kids each year.
The study is an analysis of estimates on emergency department visits in a national database created by the U.S. government’s Agency on Healthcare Research and Quality.
The researchers focused on victims under age 18; the average age was about 15.
Almost half the gun injuries were from assaults, nearly 40 percent were unintentional and 2 percent were suicides. There were five times more ER visits for boys than for girls.
Pressure from the gun lobby has limited U.S. government funding for research on gun injuries and death, and that has led to big gaps in understanding the scope of the problem, said Dr. Denise Dowd, an ER physician at Children’s Mercy hospital in Kansas City.
“It’s really important that we have an idea of the magnitude of life lost and injured and how much money we are spending ... so we can prioritize it as a national health concern.”
But she said much more needs to be known for prevention.
“We need national surveillance systems just like we do with motor vehicle deaths, to track these injuries and figure out the circumstances,” she said.
Read the full story via AP News.
Learn more about Dr. Dowd and Children's Mercy.
Children’s Mercy provides free gunlocks to patient families at the following locations: Children’s Mercy Adele Hall Campus, Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas, Children’s Mercy Blue Valley Urgent Care, Children’s Mercy West and Children’s Mercy Broadway.