Showing posts with label gun violence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gun violence. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

An Assault Injury May Lead to Subsequent Firearm Violence


By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief 
         
     Our heart goes out to teens who are victims of physical assault injuries that present to emergency departments for further evaluation and treatment.  But what happens after the assault compared to teens who are not assaulted?  Carter et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-3572) performed a prospective cohort study involving drug-using assaulted teens who presented to an urban Level 1 emergency department and compared them to a similar group of drug using teens who had not been assaulted and then followed both groups over the next two years  (collecting data on their well-being every 6 months).   
      Sadly there was a 40% increase in firearm violence in the assaulted group compared to the non-assaulted group—most having a firearm violent event within 6 months of the initial assault incident.  The authors take this finding further and identify risk factors that can further predict firearm violence in the assaulted group.
     What can we learn from this study?  We might want to do more than simply deal with the assault injuries themselves in the ED or in follow-up in a primary care setting—but instead try to intervene with more supportive services to these troubled youth in regard to helping  them with their substance abuse, mental health needs, need for revenge and /or desire to possess a firearm.  Obviously the goal is to do even more prevention work on firearm violence with teens even before this type of assault injury occurs—and Drs. Judith Schaechter and Eliot Nelson, experts on injury prevention from firearms share some important thoughts on this topic in an accompanying commentary (doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-0693). In this era of advocating for pediatrician inquiry into firearm access in homes with children and teens, this study and commentary are well worth your time and attention.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Hospitalizations for Firearm Injuries: How Frequent Are They?

With so much being reported nowadays about the dangers of unsecured firearms being used near or by children and teenagers, one wonders just how common non-life threatening injuries are.

Photo by Bobjgalindo via Wikimedia Commons
Leventhal et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-1809) decided to study the national frequency of firearm-related hospitalizations in children and teens under 20 years of age categorized by cause and
demographics from a national inpatient database. Injuries were labeled from diagnostic codes in the database as due to assault, suicide attempt, unintentional or undetermined with incidences then calculated accordingly and risk ratios used to compare the various incidences. The authors categorize the etiology not just by cause, but also by gender, age and race/ethnicity.

The results are troubling and worth paying attention to in regard to prevention strategies you might help champion for our own patients, your community, state, or as the AAP is doing—from a national perspective. If you ever needed the ammunition to do something about firearm injuries in children, this article may be exactly what you need to take aim at preventing these tragic injuries from occurring.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cinema’s Portrayal of Gun Violence

Regardless of where you stand on gun control, we are all exposed to gun use in mass media. To prove this point, Bushman et al. (doi: peds.10.1542/2013-1600) opted to look at the presence of violence, and in particular gun violence, in films over a span of more than 60 years.

Photo by ToastyKen via Flickr
The results will trouble you—gun violence in PG-13 films has more than tripled since the rating was first developed in 1985 and is as prevalent now as the amount of violence in R-rated films. Since violent films have been associated with an increased risk of aggressive behaviors, and they are omnipresent through theaters, television, and Internet—then clearly the implications of this study speak for themselves.

But if you need even more powerful and disturbing comparisons of growing scenes of violence across decades, then screen this study carefully and in turn share it with your patients and their families so they are aware of the powerful influence the media may have on violence in our society.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Gunshot Injuries in Children: An Emergency Services Perspective

With so much news nowadays about guns and gun violence, one wonders how much of the violence involves children and teenagers—recognizing that all it takes is one gunshot injury to anyone to raise concern.

Public Domain Photo
This week, Newgard et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-1350) share the results of a population-based retrospective cohort study involving children younger than 19 years injured by guns and seen in almost 100 hospitals spread across five regions of the western United States. The authors compared gunshot injuries with other types of injury in terms of severity, need for surgery, mortality and acute care costs, among other variables. Fortunately, while the percentage of children and teens experiencing gunshot injuries is small in this study, the variables studied all suggest that compared to other injuries, these are the most severe.

If you need further evidence to advocate for better protection of children and teens from guns, then take aim at this article and learn more. It will make you an even stronger advocate for injury prevention and reducing access of children and adolescents to these weapons.

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