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ARTICLE |

National Estimates of Nonfatal Firearm-Related Injuries:  Beyond the Tip of the Iceberg

Joseph L. Annest, PhD; James A. Mercy, PhD; Delinda R. Gibson; George W. Ryan, PhD
JAMA. 1995;273(22):1749-1754. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520460031030.
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Objective.  —To describe the magnitude and characteristics of nonfatal firearm-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments in the United States and to compare nonfatal injury rates with firearm-related fatality rates.

Design.  —Data were obtained from medical records for all firearm-related injury cases identified using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) from June 1, 1992, through May 31, 1993.

Setting.  —NEISS comprises 91 hospitals that are a stratified probability sample of all hospitals in the United States and its territories that have at least six beds and provide 24-hour emergency service.

Main Outcome Measures.  —Numbers and population rates for nonfatal and fatal firearm-related injuries.

Results.  —An estimated 99 025 (95% confidence interval [CI], 56 325 to 141 725) persons (or 38.6 per 100000 population; 95% CI, 22.0 to 55.2) were treated for nonfatal firearm-related injuries in US hospital emergency departments during the study period. The rate of nonfatal firearm-related injuries treated was 2.6 (95% CI, 1.5 to 3.7) times the national rate of fatal firearm-related injuries for 1992.

Conclusions.  —Nonfatal firearm-related injuries contribute substantially to the overall public health burden of firearm-related injuries. NEISS can be useful to monitor the number of nonfatal firearm-related injuries in the United States. A national surveillance system is needed to provide uniform data on firearm-related injury morbidity and mortality for use in research and prevention efforts.(JAMA. 1995;273:1749-1754)

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