AP: "Study: Gun Injuries Cost $802M Nationwide"


January 1, 2003, 06:18 PM
And what of the money saved from injuries prevented with guns?


Study: Gun Injuries Cost $802M Nationwide

By Associated Press

January 1, 2003, 4:10 PM EST

PITTSBURGH -- Injuries from gunshots result in $802 million a year in hospital charges nationwide, with nearly a third of victims uninsured, a new study indicates.

The study by Dr. Jeff Coben, director of Allegheny General Hospital's Center for Violence and Injury Control, and Dr. Claudia Steiner of the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, was published Wednesday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

They analyzed injuries from 1997, the most recent year with complete data.

Coben said that gunshots were "the leading cause for uninsured hospital days in the country that year."

He added: "That was pretty concerning to us, and pretty astounding."

The $802 million figure represents hospital costs and does not include physician fees or follow-up care, Coben said.

Initial stays cost, on average, almost $24,000 for assault cases and $30,000 for accident cases.

Overall, 29 percent of patients did not have health insurance, the study found. Hospitals often have to absorb the costs of treating uninsured patients.

Gun violence "isn't just an issue that's isolated to poor people in inner cities," Coben said. "It's going to affect all of us because of the costs involved."

Previous estimates of gun violence used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 100 emergency departments around the country, Coben said. While that gave some information about nonfatal shootings, it didn't offer details about what procedures victims underwent, their length of stay and whether victims were disabled or eventually died of their injuries.

For their study, Coben and Steiner analyzed admission information gathered in 1997 from more than 1,000 hospitals in 22 states, including Pennsylvania, New York and California.

They concluded that there were an estimated 35,800 firearm-related hospital admissions nationwide in 1997, similar to what the emergency room data predicted.

About 7 percent of people died from their injuries, 12 percent went to other health facilities for rehabilitation or other care, and 75 percent recovered and went home, according to the study.

More than half the shootings occurred during assaults, about 30 percent were accidental and 8 percent were self-inflicted. The cause of the others could not be determined.

Eighty-six percent of patients were male, and about 60 percent were younger than 30.

* __

On the Net:

American Journal of Preventive Medicine: http://www.medicinedirect.com/journal/journal?sdid6075
Copyright © 2002, The Associated Press

If you enjoyed reading about "AP: "Study: Gun Injuries Cost $802M Nationwide"" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
January 1, 2003, 07:18 PM
Does AP also mention the cost of auto accidents? Drinking to excess? Oh, and what about doctor's mistakes?

The so-called Fifth Estate acts more like a fifth column these days.

January 1, 2003, 07:27 PM
There is a cost to any type of injury and a cost to prevent injuries. What's the point?

January 1, 2003, 07:54 PM
the alleged cost to society is roughly 1/8 that of one B-2 bomber, just to put things in perspective.

And what was the involvement in the incidents that led to the shootings by these uninsured 'victims'?

Were they all innocent bystanders, or participants?

Just a couple of quick questions.

4v50 Gary
January 1, 2003, 08:03 PM
And what does this have to do with medical science? If the good Dr. is taking on social issues or law enforcement concerns, perhaps he should fold up his license. What a waste of dollars even to do this research.

Gee, want to reduce shootings? Imprison or kill all the drug dealers. Are we to be punished for the misconduct of a few?

Bob Locke
January 1, 2003, 08:23 PM
Gee, want to reduce shootings? Imprison or kill all the drug dealers. Are we to be punished for the misconduct of a few?
Or we could treat drugs in the same manner we treat alcohol and decriminalize it, thereby doing away with the black market that has produced the vast majority of the violence.

And I also wonder what the "cost to society" is of alcohol. Last time I checked, more people die in drunk-driving accidents annually than the combined total of all firearm-related deaths.

January 1, 2003, 10:59 PM
Well, let's see. The majority didn't have health insurance. By sheer coincidence, most drug dealers don't carry auto insurance (even though they drive $$ vehicles). The paper trail.

Don't do drugs. Better yet, don't sell drugs. Even better, don't try to be a big-shot drug dealer. Amazing how your chances of being shot will be reduced.

Disclaimer: I'm not a sociologist, nor do I receive millions of dollars from the government to arrive at my conclusions. If common sense were indeed common, we'd save a whole lot of money on these "studies."

January 1, 2003, 11:11 PM
The arrest rate in my corner of civilization is virtually nil along with the injury rate by weapons from self injury, gang violence and police shootings.

The arrest rate down the street in the projects along with all the other aforementioned is ten times much.

Gee...I wonder why?:rolleyes:

Oh..and medical costs? That part I believe.

I cut my thumb the day after Christmas skinning out a doe and went in the next day to make sure I didn't need stitches. They checked me and sterri stripped it up. Took all of five minutes. The cost? $30 to me, $400 to my HMO.

I wonder if that will show up in some silly statistic? I killed with a gun and then was self-wounded with a knife.

Good Shooting

January 2, 2003, 11:12 AM
Oh..and medical costs? That part I believe.
You beat me to it. People who charge $2000 a day for someone to stay in a lousy hospital bed and eat lousy hospital food have no business taking the moral high ground on anything.

January 2, 2003, 11:17 AM
me wonders:
what the gun injury with no insurance / arrest record
corrolation factor might be

January 2, 2003, 02:55 PM
here is a Buddy's response:
I'm tempted to write back and say "Ok, so what?" This report as it
stands tells me little. It doesn't even tell me that this is a new gun-
grabbing initiative to use the cost of injury to justify restrictions.
It wouldn't be new because there have been claims made like this in the

You need to dig a bit and set the context for us if you are going to
send a report like this. Obviously, the authors having doing their job
to set context properly so we need more work to place the context
properly. When we do so, the impact of these costs will appear much

Let me give you an example. Consider the cost of injuries in
automobile accidents. According to
"a motor vehicle accident occurs every second. Auto accidents cause an
injury every 14 seconds, and every 13 minutes a car accident results in
a fatality. More than 31 million accidents occur per year, at an annual
cost of almost $100 billion."

According to
"The total economic cost of motor vehicle crashes in 1994 was $150.5
billion. This represents the present value of lifetime costs for 40,676
fatalities, 5.2 million nonfatal injuries, and 27 million damaged
vehicles, in both police reported and unreported crashes. Property
damage costs of $52.1 billion accounted for the largest share of costs,
while lost market productivity accounted for $42.4 billion. Medical
expenses totalled $17 billion. Each fatality resulted in an average
discounted lifetime cost of $830,000. Alcohol-involved crashes caused
$45 billion or 30 percent of all economic costs, and 78 percent of
these costs occurred in crashes where a driver or pedestrian was
legally intoxicated (>= .10% BAC). Crashes in which police indicate
that at least one driver was exceeding the legal speed limit or driving
too fast for conditions cost $27.7 billion in 1994. Public revenues
paid for 24 percent of medical costs, and 9 percent of all costs
resulting from motor vehicle crashes. These crashes cost taxpayers
$13.8 billion in 1994, the equivalent of $144 in added taxes for each
household in the United States."

So, in 1994, alcohol was involved in $45 billion of economic costs
associated with automobile crashes. I haven't heard yet that alcohol
had a benefit to saving lives (maybe it does), but I know that guns
have a benefit to saving lives. So, alcohol costs approximately 56
times the injury costs associated with firearms (assuming the injury
calculations of $0.8 billion was correct and assuming the 1994 auto
injuries is duplicated for the same year as the firearm injury
calculation (given inflation, it might be higher).

Now, this just scratches the surface of the context setting needed.
So, I suggest, you all examine other personal injury impacts. For
example, overeating and lack of exercise causes overweight and adult
onset diabetes. I'll bet the medical costs associated with that
preventable disease are larger than injuries from firearms.

We are told that medical treatment errors cause 96,000+ deaths
annually. There are additional errors that don't cause lifes but
result in injuries (removing the wrong leg for example or leaving
instruments in patients requiring a new operation to fix). I'll bet
the costs associated with medical errors could be estimated and will
prove to be higher than the gun injuries.

In fact, I'll bet the analysis of some of the gun injuries might
actually show a benefit. For example, a serial killer who is shot to
death by authorities or a potential victim might actually have an
estimated positive benefit to society. Or a robber shot by his
intended victim might actually benefit society even if their is an
expense to save the robber's life.

We need such context and it takes time to supply it. You all should do
a better job of helping supply the context for reports you pass along.

January 2, 2003, 02:56 PM
and another's
An "astounding" find. Criminals don't have insurance.

I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

Note also the low numbers for estimated treatments --
only 35,800 nationwide. In a banner year (1993), there
were about 13,500 "gun" murders. On top of this would
rest less than 1,000 "gun" accident deaths and possibly
21,500 "gun" suicides for a round number of, say, 36,000
"gun" deaths in 1993.

Unless these criminals are remarkable shots, there are
a lot of wounded criminals who aren't even going to the
hospitals. Would anyone be willing to believe that only
the most severely injured thugs find their way into the
emergency rooms, a fact that might not only make gunshot
wounds appear more lethal (among health care professionals),
but would be a leading method for catching perps with
outstanding warrants?

Since these are the most severely injured perpetrators,
is anyone surprised that they don't have a drug dealer's
health compensation package?

This is another case of an "expert" placing a single dot
squarely into the middle of a sheet of graph paper, and
yelling from the rooftops, "LOOK AT THIS ELEPHANT!!"

To really put this into perspective, they need to COMPARE
this anecdotal "crisis" with, say, the annual costs of medical
misadventures on the American public.

At least with two dots on that graph paper, one can draw
both a line, and a conclusion.

January 2, 2003, 10:50 PM
another response
Letters Editor

The San Diego Union-Tribune
Post Office Box 120191
San Diego, CA 92112-0191
Fax (619) 260-5081

To the Editor:

The calculation Dr.'s Coben and Stiener of $802 million for the cost of gun
injuries is at the low end of the range of the total cost of firearm
injuries each year ("Study: Gun injuries cost . . .," 1/1/03). In the
Spring 2001 volume of the Texas Review of Law and Politics, I calculated
the cost of firearms violence as ranging from a minimum of $253 million
more than $18.6 billion.

However, when considering the overall economic impact of firearm use in the
United States one must weigh the benefits of gun use to society against its
costs. The best evidence is that firearms are used 2 1/2 to five times
more often to prevent crimes than to commit them. Thus, is should come as
no surprise that when I compared the cost of criminal gun misuse to the
benefits of defensive firearm use, I found a net benefit of between $1 billion to $38 billion.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D.

Senior Fellow
National Center for Policy Analysis

January 2, 2003, 11:14 PM
Although there probably is no doubt that gun related injuries are costly to treat and that there would seem to be a relatively large number of males under 30 involved, I seriously doubt that the costs to the public are any greater than those incurred by Motorcycle riders whom persist in busting their little punkin heads in a crash while not wearing helmets, or the cost of auto crash injuries where the victims were not wearing seat belts. In both of these examples I would hazard a guess and bet that the majority of victims involved were under 30. It should also not be a surprise that a large number of these 2 groups have no insurance and that their medical costs are borne by you and i.

In contrast, I wonder what the monetary savings to the public is as a result of the lawful use of handguns in the prevention of crimes.

Flying V
January 2, 2003, 11:31 PM
$802 million. That's less than $4/person. Big deal.

January 3, 2003, 05:17 PM

Benefits of Defensive Gun Use. Depending on the source, at the low end of reasonable estimates, the annual number of defensive gun uses (764,000) is somewhat lower than the highest estimate of the number of crimes committed with firearms (915,000), while at the high end the number of defensive gun uses (3.6 million) is far greater than either of the two estimates of firearms-related crimes.58
The most reasonable estimate of defensive gun use was made by Kleck: approximately 2.5 million annually. If Kleck's numbers are even close to correct, then the saving to society from the crimes prevented is about five times greater than the cost to society of firearms violence.59

February 25, 2003, 12:38 PM
Common cold tab $40 billion per year

From the Science & Technology Desk
Published 2/24/2003 7:23 PM
View printer-friendly version

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Feb. 24 (UPI) -- The common cold costs Americans $40 billion each year, a new analysis released Monday estimates.

Although not as serious as heart failure, colds overall make a deeper dent in people's pockets. It also is pricier than asthma and emphysema, researchers said.

"I've always thought that very common although not serious conditions are very costly," said Dr. Mark Fendrick, associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan.

Fendrick compared the phenomenon to markets for Ford Tauruses and Maseratis. Maseratis are much more expensive, he said, but much more money is spent on the Taurus, overall.

To investigate his suspicions, Fendrick led efforts to survey more than 4,000 U.S. households. The results, published in the Feb. 24 Archives of Internal Medicine, showed nearly three-fourths of participants had suffered a cold within the past year. On average, respondents said they got a cold not just once during the year but 2.5 times.

To come up with the $40 billion price tag, researchers tallied doctor's bills, medication costs for the 500 million yearly incidents of the pesky ailment and the price of missing work and school.

Half of the bill comes from almost 400 million missed days at work and at school, Fendrick found. Children stay home to prevent infecting other children and parents take time off work to take care of them, he explained.

Another line item from the bill goes toward antibiotics. The study reported cold sufferers spent more than $1 billion on antibiotics, which do not defend against the common cold viruses.

"People spend $5 to $10 per cold," Fendrick noted. "Individuals need to realize the effectiveness of these medications have not been demonstrated. (In addition) many do not need to take multiremedy drugs." He added that if cold sufferers with one main symptom buy medication, they should buy a kind that treats what ails them the most, not something for many symptoms. The common cold is one of the most significant drains on our economy, Fendrick said.

People waste money on drugs they often do not need and they contribute to increasing antibiotic resistance, Fendrick explained.

"He's at least partly right," said Raylana Anderson, director of human resources at Clark Engineers Inc., Peoria, Ill.

Today, more companies allow employees to take paid time off to take care of sick family members than before, Anderson said. Although $40 billion is nothing to sneeze at, she added, "I think he's missing something."

The already high price tag does not include "presenteeism," Anderson said -- people who go to work despite their colds and whose productivity goes down as a result of cold symptoms, she explained.

"People are dragging themselves in when you wish they'd stay at home," Anderson said. "It goes back to people being responsible for their own health."


(Reported by Christine Suh, UPI Science News, in Washington)

Carlos Cabeza
February 25, 2003, 04:38 PM
WHA ???????? Drug dealers don't have medical insurance.........
I hate to say but most JOBS (keyword) provide employees with access to affordable healthcare. This is another case of misrepresentation of information.

If you enjoyed reading about "AP: "Study: Gun Injuries Cost $802M Nationwide"" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!