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Gun Injuries Bring Especially Tough Recoveries

MONDAY, Feb. 11, 2019 -- One in 10 Americans who survive a gunshot wound will wind up back in the hospital for further treatment within 90 days, a new study suggests.

"Life does not go back to normal after surviving gunshot injury," said study corresponding author Bindu Kalesan, an assistant professor of medicine at Boston University's School of Medicine. "Survivors are likely to have problems related to their injury and may require additional hospitalization."

And the risk of complications after discharge is higher for these particular patients, the researchers found.

To arrive at that conclusion, the researchers analyzed readmission data from U.S. hospitals in 2013 and 2014, to compare survivors of gunshot wounds with survivors of traffic crashes.

The risk of returning to the hospital within 90 days of a gunshot wound was 20 percent higher than for pedestrians in a traffic accident, and 30 higher than car occupants in a traffic crash.

"The majority of conversations around gun violence is regarding the lethality. The survivors are often overlooked and considered as either 'heroes' and in some cases 'criminals,'" Kalesan said in a university news release. Yet, "they will suffer health consequences during the rest of their life."

To make matters worse, most of the gunshot wound survivors in the study only had Medicaid, and a large number were uninsured, the researchers noted.

"Our study merely gives us a preliminary understanding of the health and disease outcomes after gun injury, and further research is necessary to have a better understanding of the total burden and the costs of treatments," Kalesan and colleagues added.

Between 2001 and 2017, more than 1.3 million Americans survived gunshot injuries, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Despite that large number, there isn't a clear understanding of the long-term impacts of these wounds, the team pointed out.

© 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: February 2019

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