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OHSU Study: Gunshot Injuries Rare, But Damaging In Children

OPB | Oct. 14, 2013 2:21 p.m. | Updated: Jan. 3, 2014 2:19 p.m. | Portland

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It’s rare for children to be injured by gunfire, but when they are, it’s highly damaging, according to a new study out of Oregon Health and Science University.

The study looked at the injuries of about 50,000 children for whom 911 calls were made in the Portland, Seattle, Sacramento, Santa Clara and Denver areas.

Researchers found that while gunshot wounds made up only 1 percent of emergency calls, they accounted for more than 20 percent of deaths — and a disproportionate share of hospital costs.

Lead investigator, Craig Newgard of OHSU, said while the findings may seem obvious there hasn’t been much research into this area.

“These findings have not been previously presented in a research study,” he said. “So our intent was to try and fill some of the gaps and to be able to provide some more objective information to fuel those policy discussions and public health conversations.”

The study is published in the journal Pediatrics.

It was funded by the National Institutes of Health.  Newgard hopes it will spark more research into the context of childhood firearm deaths.

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