(HealthDay)—Gunshot injuries in the United States resulted in more than $16 billion in hospital care costs between 2000 and 2008, according to a new study.
The analysis of national data found that the nearly 276,000 victims of gunfire during that period required 1.7 million days of hospital care, an average of almost seven days per incident. The average cost of medical treatment for each hospitalization was nearly $60,000.
About one-third of patients with gunshot injuries were uninsured, according to the study, which is scheduled for presentation Monday at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association, in Boston.
Others who were most likely to be hospitalized with gunshot injuries included teens, young adults, males and blacks. Nearly 39 percent of the patients in the study were aged 20 to 30, and 89 percent were male.
"The impact is probably much higher than $16 billion since the years of life lost, disability, lack of productivity, societal well-being and emotional turmoil associated with such injuries is far-reaching," study author Min Kyeong Lee said in an association news release.
"This is one of the foremost reasons why health care costs in this country have gotten out of control and underlies the need for better preventive policies," Lee said.
Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
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You can learn more about preventing gun violence at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.