U.S. hospitals treated an estimated 75,086 patients under age 18 for firearm-related injuries in the emergency department between 2006 and 2014, according to a study reported online today by JAMA Pediatrics. Visits decreased between 2006 and 2013 and increased in 2014. They were five-fold higher for boys than girls, and highest for boys aged 15-17. About 35 percent of the ED patients were admitted to inpatient care for further management. ED and inpatient charges associated with the injuries totaled $2.5 billion, or an average $270 million a year. The authors propose allocating additional resources and funds to studying firearm-related injuries. “Only through further understanding of the social, political, and health-related risk factors for these injuries can we develop and implement effective policies to address this public health concern,” they said. AHA Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Jay Bhatt, D.O., recently participated in a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine workshop on health system interventions to prevent firearm injury and death.

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