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Deaths in Pediatric ERs from Guns Doubled during Pandemic

Researchers from Chicago Lurie Children’s Hospital physicians led study
By Bruce Japsen

Child deaths and injuries from guns after arrival to pediatric hospital emergency rooms doubled during the pandemic from according to a national study of data from nine pediatric hospital emergency departments including Chicago’s Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital.

The research, published in the journal Pediatrics, looked at 1,904 firearm injury visits from children younger than 18 years of age, to emergency departments at nine urban U.S. hospitals participating in the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network Registry. There were 694 pre-pandemic visits for firearm injuries before the pandemic and 1,210 visits during the pandemic from March 2020 through November 2022.

“Death in the emergency department/hospital increased from 3.1% pre-pandemic to 6.1% during the pandemic,” the results of the study show. “Before pandemic onset, 18.0 pediatric firearm injury ED visits occurred per 30 days. During the pandemic, firearm injury ED visits increased to 36.1 per 30 days, which was twice the expected rate based on extrapolated pre-pandemic trends, with an observed to expected rate ratio of 2.09.”

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