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Guns Hospitalize 20 Young People Every Day

Update Date: Jan 27, 2014 11:12 AM EST
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Gun violence is huge problem within the United States. According to a new study, researchers calculated that roughly one child or teenager is injured due to a gun every hour. The severe injuries lead to the hospitalization of roughly 20 young people every day. These numbers suggest that more needs to be done to reduce gun violence and injuries.

"Every day, 20 of our children are hospitalized for firearms injury, often suffering severe and costly injuries, clearly shows that this is a national public health problem," stated the director of the Division of Family and Child Advocacy at Boston Medical Center and study co-author, Robert Sege reported by USA Today.

Dr. John Leventhal, the study's lead author and a professor of pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine, added according to NBC News, "That's more than 7,000 children injured badly enough to be hospitalized. All are unnecessary hospitalizations because preventing gun violence is something that can actually be done."

For this study, the researchers reviewed data collected on a nationally representative group of children and young adults up to the age of 20 known as the Kids' Inpatient Database (KID). The most recent data was collected in 2009, which was released in 2011. The researchers found that for that year, the total number of gun-related hospitalizations was 7,391. They also reported that another 3,000 children and teenagers died due to guns before reaching the hospital.

Out of that number, around six percent of them, which is equal to 453, resulted in death. 4,559 injuries were caused by assault, 2,179 cases were caused by accidents and 270 injuries were due to suicide attempts. The researchers found that the most common type of injuries, at 52 percent, was an open wound. 50 percent of the injuries were fractures followed by 34 percent of internal injuries to the thorax, abdomen or pelvis. The researchers also found that for children under 10-years-old, three-fourths of the hospitalization cases were due to unintentional injuries.

The gun-related injury rates were the highest for the age group of 15 to 19. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported firearm injuries were the second leading cause of death for this age group. The researchers reported that out of all the hospitalizations, 89 percent of the patients were males. The researchers calculated the hospitalization rates for males and females, which were 15.22 per 100,000 and 1.93 per 100,000 respectively. The team also calculated a rate of 44.77 per 100,000 for black males.

The racial gap was evident in the statistics. Around 47 percent of all the hospitalizations were black children and young adults. 36 percent of these injuries were caused unintentionally and 54 percent resulted from undetermined causes.

"This study reinforces what we know from the mortality data. We have an extraordinary health burden in our youth associated with firearms injuries," said Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. "When you look at firearms-related mortality in the United States compared to other high income nations, our rates are roughly 10-fold higher. This is a very unique and abnormal problem that such a wealthy nation should have such high mortality and morbidity in youth related to firearms."

The findings were published in Pediatrics.

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