Firearm injuries in the U.S. cost more than $16 billion in hospital resources between 2000 and 2008, according to new research released today at the American Public Health Association's 141st Annual Meeting in Boston.
According to the research, 275,939 victims of gunfire in the U.S. resulted in 1.7 million days of hospital service -- an average of 6.7 days per incident. The average cost of medical treatment for each hospitalization was $59,620. Additionally, roughly one in three patients was uninsured.
Authors also note that the study reveals that risk did not decrease between 2000 and 2008, while similar estimates of high-risk individuals likely to be hospitalized with firearm injuries included adolescents, young adults, males, African-Americans and the uninsured. Data was taken from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project.
"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, DMD, Annual Meeting presenter. "This is one of the foremost reasons why health care costs in this country have gotten out of control and underlies the need for better preventive policies."
Close to 39 percent of hospitalizations in the study occurred among 20-30 year olds, while males accounted for 89 percent of hospital visits.
APHA's 141st Annual Meeting is themed "Think Global Act Local" and will focus on the creative and successful public health efforts from across the globe and discuss how public health workers can adapt these efforts to the communities they serve at home.
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