Cost of acute care of pediatric gunshot patients

R. R. Tanz*, B. Pearce

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In Illinois, vital records can be used to track deaths from all causes. However, no system is in place to track the occurrence of most injuries. Death and injury from firearms have been called a public health crisis, but efforts to reduce the toil are hampered by a lack of data regarding nonfatal shootings. As part of an ongoing effort to use available data sources to develop a firearm injury tracking system, we analyzed data from the Illinois Department of Public Health Trauma Registry. We used E codes to identify firearm injury patients 0 to 19 years old treated at Illinois trauma hospitals in 1994. In 1994, there were 1,043 children and adolescents (0 to 19 years old) treated for gunshot wounds in designated Illinois trauma hospitals. The trauma hospital gunshot wound treatment rate was 35 per 100,000 Illinois children. Eighty-three percent of the pediatric patients treated at trauma hospitals for gunshot wounds were 15 to 19 years old. Only 8% of the patients were white, but 73% of the patients who used a firearm to attempt suicide were white. Pediatric firearm injuries reported to the trauma registry occurred in 21 of 102 Illinois counties; Cook County residents experienced 77% of the injuries. Weapons were usually not identified, but when a weapon was specified, it was usually a handgun. Handguns accounted for 91% of all firearms identified; 94% of the firearms identified in assaults, and 55% of firearms identified in suicide attempts. Illinois trauma hospitals reported charges that exceeded $17 million for treating pediatric firearm injury patients. Medicaid was responsible for 50% of these charges (43% of the patients were Medicaid recipients). Twenty-six percent of the trauma hospital gunshot wound patients had no insurance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-70
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Medical Practice Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997


  • E codes
  • Firearm injuries
  • Gunshot wounds
  • Hospital costs
  • Trauma care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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