fatality rates, edged weapon vs handgun, source of


August 10, 2007, 09:50 AM
i remember reading fatality statistics of edged weapons. also included were the rates of handgun fatalities were used as a comparison. supposedly the tables were compiled from doj/fbi sources.

amongst other things, an assertion was made that 80 percent of handgun wounds are/were non-fatal and something on the order of upwards of 90 percent of edged weapon attacks the person attacked bled out before blood loss could be controled.

if true, that kinda brings another dimension to the phrase 'up close and personal'.

granted that anyone can post anything, reliable or not, via the 'net. does anyone else remember reading anything like this?..and could you provide a source?


salty, one hand typist for another 6 weeks.

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August 10, 2007, 10:18 AM
Yes, both CDC and DOJ collect this data, as well as various states, and it is available by searching their websites. You'll find far more deaths due to handguns than knives.

August 10, 2007, 11:13 AM
Handguns are far more lethal than knives, according to both national and international statistics. Here's a quote from a posting I made on rec.knives which includes multiple cites:

The Journal of Trauma (36:4 pp516-524) looked at all injury admissions
to a Seattle hospital over a six year period. The mortality rate for
gunshot wounds was 22% while that for stab wounds was 4%. Even among
patients that survived, gunshot wounds were more serious -- the mean
cost of treatment for these patients was more than twice that for stab

Here follows several abstacts extracted from the literature that further
demonstrate the increased lethality of shootings over stabbing

<1> Authors Muckart DJ.Meumann C.Botha JB. Title The changing pattern of
penetrating torso trauma in KwaZulu/Natal--a clinical and pathological
review. Source South African Medical Journal.85(11):1172-4, 1995 Nov.
Abstract The number of patients who sustained penetrating torso trauma
and were admitted to King Edward VIII Hospital and the surgical
intensive care unit were reviewed over 10- and 5-year periods
respectively. For the last 4 months of 1992, a comparison was made
between victims of trauma admitted to hospital and those whose bodies
were taken directly to the South African Police medicolegal laboratories
in Gale Street, Durban, where the majority of medicolegal autopsies in
the Durban metropolitan area are performed. The total number of hospital
admissions has not changed during the last decade, but the aetiology of
injury has altered considerably. Stab wounds have declined by 30%
whereas gunshot wounds have increased by more than 800%. The ratio of
stab to gunshot wounds admitted to the intensive care unit reversed
within the 5-year period 1987-1992. Direct admission to the mortuary was
three times as common in cases of gunshot compared with stab wounds. The
hospital mortality rate for gunshot wounds was 8 times that for stab
wounds. The establishment of dedicated trauma centres is essential for
the treatment of these injuries, and strategies to control the use of
firearms are vital.

<2> Authors Heary RF.Vaccaro AR.Mesa JJ.Balderston RA. Title
Thoracolumbar infections in penetrating injuries to the spine. Source
Orthopedic Clinics of North America.27(1):69-81, 1996 Jan. Abstract A
detailed review of the TJUH experience and the published literature on
gunshot and stab wounds to the spine has been presented. The following
statements are supported. (1) Military (high-velocity) gunshot wounds
are distinct entities, and the management of these injuries cannot be
carried over to civilian (low-velocity) handgun wounds. (2) Gunshot
wounds with a resultant neurologic deficit are much more common than
stab wounds and carry a worse prognosis. (3) Spinal infections are rare
following a penetrating wound of the spine and a high index of suspicion
is needed to detect them. (4) Extraspinal infections (septic
complications) are much more common than spinal infections following a
gunshot or stab wound to the spine. (5) Steroids are of no use in
gunshot wounds to the spine. In fact, there was an increased incidence
of spinal and extraspinal infections without a difference in neurologic
outcome compared with those who did not receive steroids. (6) Spinal
surgery is rarely indicated in the management of penetrating wounds of
the spine. The recommendations for treatment at TJUH of victims of
gunshot or stab wounds with a resultant neurologic deficit are as
follows. (1) Spine surgery is indicated for progressive neurologic
deficits and persistent cerebrospinal fluid leaks (particularly if
meningitis is present), although these situations rarely occur. (2)
Consider spine surgery for incomplete neurologic deficits with
radiographic evidence of neural compression. Particularly in the cauda
equina region, these surgeries may be technically demanding because of
frequent dural violations and nerve root injuries/extrusions. These
cases must be evaluated in an individual case-by-case manner. The
neurologic outcomes of patients with incomplete neurologic deficits at
TJUH who underwent acute spine surgery (usually for neural compression
secondary to a bullet) were worse than the outcomes for the patients who
did not have spine surgery. A selection bias against the patients
undergoing spine surgery was likely present as these patients had
evidence of ongoing neural compression. (3) A high index of suspicion is
necessary to detect spinal and extraspinal infections. (4) Do not use
glucorticoid steroids for gunshot wound victims. (5) Conservative
(nonoperative) treatment with intravenous broad spectrum antibiotics and
tetanus prophylaxis is the sole therapy indicated in the majority of
patients who sustain a penetrating wound to the thoracic or lumbar

<3> Authors Madiba TE.Mokoena TR. Title Favourable prognosis after
surgical drainage of gunshot, stab or blunt trauma of the pancreas [see
comments]. Source British Journal of Surgery.82(9):1236-9, 1995 Sep.
Abstract The records of 152 patients with pancreatic injury treated over
a 5-year period were reviewed. The diagnosis was made at laparotomy in
all patients. Gunshot wounds, stab wounds and blunt trauma occurred in
63, 66 and 23 patients respectively with mean ages of 28, 28 and 30
years. Multiple organ injury was most common after gunshot wounds.
Intraoperative management was by drainage of the pancreatic injury site
alone in the majority of patients in all aetiological groups. The rate
of fistula formation was 14 per cent after gunshot wounds, 9 per cent
after stab injury and 13 per cent after blunt trauma. Death occurred
after 24 h in 8, 2 and 10 per cent of patients following gunshot wounds,
stab wounds and blunt trauma respectively, and was attributable to other
organ damage. It is concluded that gunshot injury to the pancreas may be
more extensive than other injuries, but conservative management with
surgical drainage of pancreatic injury is justified irrespective of the
mechanism of injury.

<4> Authors Velmahos GC.Degiannis E.Hart K.Souter I.Saadia R. Title
Changing profiles in spinal cord injuries and risk factors influencing
recovery after penetrating injuries. Source Journal of
Trauma.38(3):334-7, 1995 Mar. Abstract OBJECTIVE: The changing profiles
of spinal cord injuries in South Africa are addressed in this study.
DESIGN: A retrospective analysis of 551 patients with spinal cord
injury. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The cause of injury was motor vehicle
crashes in 30%, stab wounds in 26%, gunshot wounds in 35%, and
miscellaneous causes 9%. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: There was a
significant shift from stab wounds towards bullet wounds over the last
five years. Bullet spinal cord injuries increased from 30 cases in 1988
to 55 cases in 1992, while stab spinal cord injuries decreased from 39
cases in 1988 to 20 cases in 1992. The incidence of spinal cord injuries
following a motor vehicle crash showed a declining tendency after a
transient increase (28 cases in 1988, 40 in 1990, 31 in 1992). Moreover,
the problem of severe septic complications has been investigated and
various risk factors for sepsis that might impair the rehabilitation
process have been examined. The risk of developing septic complications
was higher in gunshot spine injuries (21 cases out of 193) than in knife
injuries (5 cases out of 143). The presence of a retained bullet did not
seem to increase the chances for sepsis. In seven patients the sepsis
was the direct consequence of the retained bullet while in 14 patients
sepsis developed with no bullet in situ. Furthermore, the site of the
injury (cervical, thoracic, lumbar spine) did not correlate with the
abovementioned risks. CONCLUSIONS: Gunshots carry a heavier prognosis.
Only 32% of our gunshot cases underwent a significant recovery as
opposed to 61% of stab cases and 44% of the motor vehicle crash victims.

<5> Authors Degiannis E.Velmahos GC.Florizoone MG.Levy RD.Ross J.Saadia
R. Title Penetrating injuries of the popliteal artery: the Baragwanath
experience. Source Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of
England.76(5):307-10, 1994 Sep. Abstract This study describes the
management of 43 patients with penetrating injury of the popliteal
artery. Of these patients, 33 (76.5%) had bullet wounds, four patients
(9.5%) pellet wounds and 6 (14%) knife wounds. Patients with 'hard'
signs of arterial injury underwent exploration without preoperative
angiograms. There were no negative explorations. Patients with only
'soft' signs of arterial injury underwent preoperative angiograms. Of
this group, 75% had positive angiograms and underwent exploration. There
were no false-positive or false-negative preoperative angiograms in the
group of patients with 'soft' signs in this study. Definitive
orthopaedic management of associated fractures followed vascular
reconstruction. There was no difference in the short-term patency of
autologous saphenous vein graft as against PTFE grafts. Fasciotomy was
performed on patients who had arterial and venous injury or presented
late. Overall amputation rate was 14% and for bullet injuries 18%.

August 10, 2007, 11:14 AM

<6> Authors Rothlin M.Vila A.Trentz O. Title [Results of surgery in
gunshot and stab injuries of the trunk]. [German] Source Helvetica
Chirurgica Acta.60(5):817-22, 1994 Jul. Abstract Between 1981 and 1990,
105 patients suffering from gunshot and stab wounds were admitted to the
Department of Surgery of Zurich University Hospital. There were 17
female and 88 male patients aged 16-74 years (average 31 years) whose
charts were studied retrospectively. 44 patients demonstrated gunshot
injuries, while 60 suffered from stabwounds and 1 patient had both. The
injuries were the result of a crime in 59, a suicide in 33 and an
accident in 11 cases. In 2 patients the cause was not conclusive proven.
Injuries to the lung (n = 54), the liver (n = 27) and to the stomach (n
= 23) were seen most frequently. 45 patients underwent laparotomy, while
16 had a thoracotomy performed. Both thoracotomy and laparotomy were
necessary in 10 cases. Complications were observed in 29.5% of the
cases. They were significantly more frequent in patients with gunshot
injuries (p < 0.0004). Overall mortality amounted to 14.3% (n = 15).
Patients with gunshot wounds had a significantly higher mortality rate
(p < 0.0005). Debridement and selective closure of the wounds (n = 25)
did not result in a higher rate of abscess formation than open treatment
(n = 17).

<7> Authors Coimbra R.Prado PA.Araujo LH.Candelaria PA.Caffaro
RA.Rasslam S. Title Factors related to mortality in inferior vena cava
injuries. A 5 year experience. Source International
Surgery.79(2):138-41, 1994 Apr-Jun. Abstract Forty-nine patients
sustaining Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) injuries, during a 5 year period
were retrospectively analyzed in order to assess those factors related
to early deaths. Mean age was 32 and 45 were male. GSW was the most
frequent mechanism of injury (59.2%), followed by SW (28.6%) and blunt
trauma (12.2%). There were 4 injuries in the supra diaphragmatic IVC, 14
retrohepatic, 16 suprarenal and the remaining 15 were in the infrarenal
portion of the IVC. Twenty patients were in shock and 8 were unstable on
admission. The liver was the most frequently injured organ in
association with IVC and there were also 7 concomitant abdominal
vascular injuries. Venorrhaphy was performed in 28 patients, IVC
ligature in 5, intracaval shunt in 3 and in the remaining 13, only
temporary hemostasis was attempted. Mortality rate was 100% in supra
diaphragmatic injuries, 71.4% in retrohepatic, 68.8% in suprarenal and
33% in infrarenal injuries. There was a significant difference when
comparing mortality rate in stable against shock or unstable patients on
admission (p < 0.001), as well as in those with diaphragmatic IVC
injuries compared with all other injury sites together (p < 0.05).
Hemodynamic instability on admission was the most important cause of
early deaths, and all patients with concomitant abdominal vascular
injuries also died.

<8> Authors Degiannis E.Velmahos G.Krawczykowski D.Levy RD.Souter
I.Saadia R. Title Penetrating injuries of the subclavian vessels. Source
British Journal of Surgery.81(4):524-6, 1994 Apr. Abstract A study was
made of 76 patients with subclavian vessel injury. The mechanism of
trauma was stabbing in 40 patients (53 per cent) and gunshot in 36 (47
per cent). There were marked differences between the two groups in
clinical presentation, operative management and outcome. The group with
gunshot injury was characterized by a more immediate threat to life, and
a greater need for a median sternotomy and use of interposition grafts.
The mortality rate in patients with gunshot wounds was more than twice
that in the group with stab injury.

<9> Authors Tang E.Berne TV. Title Intravenous pyelography in
penetrating trauma. Source American Surgeon.60(6):384-6, 1994 Jun.
Abstract Intravenous pyelograms (IVPs) are routinely used in the workup
of suspected urologic injuries. The indications for obtaining IVPs have
not been well characterized. This study examined 67 patients with
penetrating trauma who received formal IVPs with nephrotomography in the
radiology department. Of 35 stab wounds, 19 patients presented without
hematuria and accounted for only one positive IVP. No intervention was
undertaken in this patient. There were 14 stab wound patients with
microscopic hematuria, with three positive IVPs. No intervention was
necessary in any of these patients. The two remaining stab wound
patients both had gross hematuria and renal injuries requiring
intervention. However, only one of the two had a positive IVP, showing a
blurred kidney margin. One patient had a pseudoaneurysm of a branch of
the renal artery, and the other had an arteriovenous fistula. Of 32
patients with gunshot wounds, 15 presented without hematuria. Of the 15,
one had a positive IVP but did not have a renal injury on exploration.
None of the other 13 patients in this group undergoing exploration had
renal injuries. Of the 11 patients with microscopic hematuria, three had
hematomas and one had gross extravasation on IVP. Of the six patients
with gross hematuria, three had positive IVPs, showing a hematoma, a
renal fracture, and indistinct renal outline, respectively. In this
limited study, omitting IVPs on the patients with negative urinalyses
would not have missed any significant injuries. We suggest that more
study is needed in this area because our present standard may lead to
unnecessary expense and delay.

<10> Authors Velmahos GC.Degiannis E.Souter I.Saadia R. Title
Penetrating trauma to the heart: a relatively innocent injury. Source
Surgery.115(6):694-7, 1994 Jun. Abstract BACKGROUND. The purpose of this
study was to examine the mortality rate of penetrating cardiac trauma in
a large urban hospital. METHODS. This was a retrospective study over a
period of 5 years and 5 months of all patients admitted alive with a
stab or a gunshot cardiac injury. RESULTS. There were 310 patients with
a stab wound and 63 with a gunshot wound. The overall mortality rate was
19%. The mortality rates for the stab and the gunshot groups were 13%
and 50.7%, respectively. In the 296 patients with a cardiac stab wound
confined to a single chamber and with no other associated extracardiac
injury the mortality rate was 8.5%. CONCLUSIONS. An isolated cardiac
stab wound is a relatively innocent injury in a patient at a hospital
accustomed to managing penetrating trauma expeditiously.

<11> Authors Mock C.Pilcher S.Maier R. Title Comparison of the costs of
acute treatment for gunshot and stab wounds: further evidence of the
need for firearms control [see comments]. Source Journal of
Trauma.36(4):516-21; discussion 521-2, 1994 Apr. Abstract Gun control is
proposed primarily to decrease the incidence of injury and death from
gunshot wounds (GSWs). We hypothesize that decreasing the number of GSWs
will also produce significant economic savings, even if personal
violence were to continue at the same rate, maintaining the same overall
incidence of penetrating trauma. We analyzed charges and reimbursements
for the treatment for all patients with GSWs (n = 1116) and stab wounds
(SWs) (n = 1529) admitted to a level I trauma center from 1986 through
1992. Mean and median charges were higher for GSWs ($14,541; $7,541)
than for SWs ($6,446; $4,249) (p < 0.05). There was a 12% per year
increase in the annual number of GSWs (p = 0.001), leading to a
disproportionate increase in the annual total charges for GSWs (p =
0.013), compared with SWs. Public expenditures, including bad debt and
government reimbursement, increased for GSWs (p = 0.019) but not SWs.
Thus, if all patients with GSWs instead suffered SWs, there would be an
annual savings of $1,290,000 overall and of $981,000 of public funds
from this institution alone. Treatment costs for GSWs are higher than
those for SWs and are rising more rapidly, with an increasing amount of
public funds going to meet these costs. Considerable savings to society
would accrue from any effort that decreased firearm injuries, even if
the same level of violence persisted using other weapons.

<14> Authors Rizoli SB.Mantovani M.Baccarin V.Vieira RW. Title
Penetrating heart wounds. Source International Surgery.78(3):229-30,
1993 Jul-Sep. Abstract In 3 years, 26 patients were operated for
penetrating heart wounds at our institution, the majority between 30 to
60 minutes after injury. Twenty-two patients with a possible heart wound
were immediately taken to the operating room for thoracotomy. One
patient initially underwent laparotomy while 2 were observed before
operating-room thoracotomy. One patient underwent emergency-room
thoracotomy. Three patients with no vital signs on admission died, 82.6%
of the remainder survived. Stab wounds determined the best survival
rate: 94%, whereas for gunshot wounds it was only 50%. Our experience at
this Brazilian Trauma Center reveals that delay in reaching the hospital
selected the patients, that clinical condition on arrival, method of
injury (knife or gunshot), emergency room staffed with trauma surgeons
and aggressive operating room treatment for penetrating heart wounds
results in a remarkable survival rate. Emergency-room thoracotomy should
be reserved for patients "in extremis" or when there is no operating
room available.

<16> Authors Macho JR.Markison RE.Schecter WP. Title Cardiac stapling in
the management of penetrating injuries of the heart: rapid control of
hemorrhage and decreased risk of personal contamination. Source Journal
of Trauma.34(5):711-5; discussion 715-6, 1993 May. Abstract The
resuscitation of patients with cardiopulmonary arrest from a penetrating
injury of the heart requires emergency thoracotomy and control of
hemorrhage. Suture control may be technically difficult in patients with
large or multiple lacerations. Emergency cardiac suturing techniques
expose the surgeon to the risk of a contaminated needle stick. After we
determined that rapid control of hemorrhage from cardiac lacerations
could be achieved in anesthetized sheep with the use of a standard skin
stapler, the technique was applied in the clinical setting. Twenty-eight
patients underwent emergency stapling of 33 cardiac lacerations at our
institution from September 1987 to December 1991. Seventy-nine percent
(22) of the patients sustained stab wounds, and 21% (6) were injured by
gunshots. Fifty-eight percent (19) of the injuries involved the right
ventricle, 27% (9) involved the left ventricle, 9% (3) involved the
right atrium, and 6% (2) involved the left atrium. In 93% (26) of the
patients, control of hemorrhage was achieved within 2 minutes of
exposure of the injuries. Both patients in whom control could not be
achieved had sustained large-caliber gunshot injuries. Fifteen (54%) of
the patients survived, including one patient with two cardiac
lacerations and another with three lacerations. Of the surviving
patients, two had mild neurologic deficits. No personal contamination
occurred related to the use of the stapler. We conclude (1) cardiac
stapling is highly effective in the management of hemorrhage from
penetrating injury, particularly in the setting of multiple cardiac
lacerations; (2) the technique may not be effective with certain types
of gunshot wounds; and (3) the use of the stapler for emergency
cardiorrhaphy eliminates the risk of personal contamination from a
needle stick. [Full paper reveals survival rate of 17% for gunshot
wounds and 64% for stab wounds.TL]

<17> Authors Mitchell ME.Muakkassa FF.Poole GV.Rhodes RS.Griswold JA.
Title Surgical approach of choice for penetrating cardiac wounds. Source
Journal of Trauma.34(1):17-20, 1993 Jan. Abstract One hundred nineteen
patients suffered penetrating cardiac trauma over a 15-year period: 59
had gunshot wounds, 49 had stab wounds, and 11 had shotgun wounds. The
overall survival rate was 58%. The most commonly injured structures were
the ventricles. Twenty-seven patients had injuries to more than one
cardiac chamber. Thirty patients had associated pulmonary injuries.
Emergency thoracotomy was performed in 47 patients with 15% survival.
Median sternotomy was used in 30 patients with 90% survival. Seventeen
of the 83 patients with thoracotomies required extension across the
sternum for improved cardiac exposure or access to the contralateral
hemithorax. Only one patient with sternotomy also required a
thoracotomy. All pulmonary injuries were easily managed when sternotomy
was used. We conclude that sternotomy provides superior exposure for
cardiac repair in patients with penetrating anterior chest trauma. We
feel it is the incision of choice in hemodynamically stable patients.
Thoracotomy should be reserved for unstable patients requiring aortic
cross-clamping, or when posterior mediastinal injury is highly
suspected. [Full paper reveals survival rates of 46% for gunshot wounds,
78% for stab wounds, and 36% for shotgun wounds. TL]

<18> Authors Kaufman JA.Parker JE.Gillespie DL.Greenfield AJ.Woodson J.
Menzoian JO. Title Arteriography for proximity of injury in penetrating
extremity trauma. Source Journal of Vascular & Interventional
Radiology.3(4):719-23, 1992 Nov. Abstract Arteriography for proximity of
injury was studied prospectively at a trauma center. Findings in 85
patients with penetrating extremity wounds were analyzed to determine
the prevalence and types of vascular abnormalities seen with these
injuries. Ninety-two limb segments were studied for 77 gunshot and 15
stab wounds. Arteriographic findings were positive in 24% overall but in
only 5% for injuries confined to major vessels. A 60% positive rate was
seen in a small subgroup of 10 patients with fractures due to gunshot
wounds. The most frequently injured vessels were muscular branches of
the deep femoral artery (59%); the most common injury was focal,
non-occlusive spasm (42%). All patients were treated conservatively,
without sequelae at follow-up. In this study, the vascular injuries
found at arteriography for proximity of injury in penetrating trauma due
to bullets of knives, particularly in the thigh, did not require
surgical or radiologic intervention.

<19> Authors Nagel M.Kopp H.Hagmuller E.Saeger HD. Title [Gunshot and
stab injuries of the abdomen]. [German] Source Zentralblatt fur
Chirurgie.117(8):453-9, 1992. Abstract From 1973 to 1991 a total of 422
patients underwent surgery because of an abdominal trauma. 12 patients
had gunshot wounds and 46 patients stab wounds. In a retrospective study
the diagnostic and therapeutic procedure and the indication for surgery
are analysed. After gunshot wounds of the abdomen we always performed a
laparotomy. In 11 od 12 cases we found serious intra-abdominal injuries.
Only in one case the laparotomy was "unnecessary", because of a
tangential wound without penetrating of the abdominal wall. After stab
wounds the diagnostic and therapeutic management was more selective.
Indications for mandatory laparotomy after stab wounds were a manifest
hemorrhagic shock, evisceration and a still left weapon in the abdomen
(n = 22). The first clinical examination was completed by ultrasound or
peritoneal lavage. Pathological findings like free intraperitoneal fluid
or a positive lavage also were indications for laparotomy (n = 9). The
other patients were observed closely, including repeated physical
examination. The indication for surgery then based on the development of
clinical signs. The time between first examination and laparotomy was
never more than 12 hours. 39 patients (84.7%) had injuries of
intraabdominal organs. 5 patients (10.8%) had a negative laparotomy. The
mortality rate was 3.4%, but there was no death as a result of the
selective approach.

<20> Authors Saltzman LE.Mercy JA.O'Carroll PW.Rosenberg ML.Rhodes PH.
Title Weapon involvement and injury outcomes in family and intimate
assaults. Source JAMA.267(22):3043-7, 1992 Jun 10. Abstract
OBJECTIVE--To compare the risk of death and the risk of nonfatal injury
during firearm-associated family and intimate assaults (FIAs) with the
risks during non-firearm-associated FIAs. DESIGN--Records review of
police incident reports of FIAs that occurred in 1984. Victim outcomes
(death, nonfatal injury, no injury) and weapon involvement were examined
for incidents involving only one perpetrator. SETTING--City of Atlanta,
Ga, within Fulton County. PARTICIPANTS--Stratified sample (n = 142) of
victims of nonfatal FIAs, drawn from seven nonfatal crime categories,
plus all fatal victims (n = 23) of FIAs. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Risk of
death (vs nonfatal injury or no injury) during FIAs involving firearms,
relative to other types of weapons; risk of nonfatal injury (vs all
other outcomes, including death) during FIAs involving firearms,
relative to other types of weapons. RESULTS--Firearm-associated FIAs
were 3.0 times (95% confidence interval, 0.9 to 10.0) more likely to
result in death than FIAs involving knives or other cutting instruments
and 23.4 times (95% confidence interval, 7.0 to 78.6) more likely to
result in death than FIAs involving other weapons or bodily force.
Overall, firearm-associated FIAs were 12.0 times (95% confidence
interval, 4.6 to 31.5) more likely to result in death than
non-firearm-associated FIAs. CONCLUSIONS--Strategies for limiting the
number of deaths and injuries resulting from FIAs include reducing the
access of potential FIA assailants to firearms, modifying firearm
lethality through redesign, and establishing programs for primary
prevention of violence among intimates.

<21> Authors Mercer DW.Buckman RF Jr.Sood R.Kerr TM.Gelman J. Title
Anatomic considerations in penetrating gluteal wounds. Source Archives
of Surgery.127(4):407-10, 1992 Apr. Abstract A retrospective study of 81
patients with penetrating gluteal wounds was performed to determine if
the site of penetration was useful in predicting the likelihood of
associated vascular or visceral injury. There were 53 gunshot wounds and
28 stab wounds, including one impalement. The gluteal region was divided
into upper and lower zones by determining whether entry occurred above
or below the greater trochanters. Sixty-six percent of all penetrating
gluteal wounds entered the upper zone. Thirty-two percent of patients
with upper zone penetration had associated vascular or visceral injury.
Only one of 27 patients with lower zone penetration sustained major
injury. The site of entry plays a critical role in determining the
likelihood of serious injury associated with penetrating gluteal wounds.
Wounds penetrating above the greater trochanters demand thorough
evaluation, especially gunshot wounds. Prev by Date: Death rate from gun
assaults vs death rate from knife assaults Next by Date: Death rate from
handgun, long guns and knife wounds

August 10, 2007, 11:59 AM
i am overwhelmed with information...gonna take lots of time to sort all that out.

at first blush though, i wasn't refering to number of attacks but of the relative survivability of one vs the other per incident. nor did i limit edged weapon attacks to thrusts/stabings.




mike, jason is impressed with his little breed.


August 10, 2007, 02:32 PM
I think that the correct way to word handgun wounding is this:
80% of handgun wounds are survivable.

What this means is that, with proper emergency treatment, people have a great chance of surviving. Without emergency treatment, the % of fatalities will go way up.

August 10, 2007, 04:12 PM
mike, jason is impressed with his little breed.

They're tough little knives that's for sure. Handy also. ;)

http://ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/cvict_c.htm#violent[QUOTE]In 2005 (In 2005, 55% of homicides were committed with handguns, 16% with other guns, 14% with knives, 5% with blunt objects, and 11% with other weapons.), 55% of homicides were committed with handguns, 16% with other guns, 14% with knives, 5% with blunt objects, and 11% with other weapons.

August 10, 2007, 04:18 PM
I know from my police experience and training I would rather have an unskilled person attack me with a hand gun, than a skilled person with a knife.

BUT, as stated, a handgun has a much higher percentage of dramatically injuring you. Bullets do a lot of damage and can from far away. At the same time, a person who has a knife AND knows exactly what to do with one, can kill you extremely quickly.

Neither would be something I would choose to get hit with. Most injuries from either are survivable, but keep in mind a head shot usually finishes you, while a knife is hard to stick through a skull. As with anything, it comes down to the skill of the attacker. A good pistol shot can be deadly, but a perfect stab/cut with a knife can kill just as quickly.

August 10, 2007, 05:10 PM
Almost as quickly. The typical cause of death with knives is exsanguination (loss of blood). Even if a major artery is severed, it can take 45 second to die (still considered 'instant' death in many cases). A traumatic gunshot wound can kill instantly (under 5 seconds) pretty easily.

Statistically speaking, skill has little impact on edged weapon lethality. In countries that have a tradition of edged weapon combat (e.g. the Zulu homelands) don;t experience significant increases in percentage of deaths by cutting weapons vs injuries by same.

In gerenal, you chance of survivin a knife wound is 2-5x higher than that of surviving a gun shot wound. That being said, knife wounds can be extremely dibilitating. The again, so can gunshot wounds. You just aren't as like to survive the latter.

I my experince working at a hospital, I observed the following:

People with knife wounds were often ambulatory, and frequently brought themselves to the hospital.

People shot with handguns were typically brought in by ambulance

People shot with rifles were frequently brought in DOA.

Of the survivors, people with deep lacerations typically had more post attack issues with loss of function and requirements for physical therapy. Gunshot wounds seem to cause less long term damage.

However, I am not a doctor, no did I do any formal follow-ups.

I do klnow that I don't want to be shot or stabbed. In particular, I don;t want to be shot with a hunting rifle.

August 10, 2007, 06:05 PM
At the police academy they showed a video of a Filipino armed with a knife that knew what he was doing. It was a training video in which he "attacked" uniformed officers. The officers knew they were in training and knew they were being taped but did not know what type of training it was or what type of threat they faced. The man with the knife "killed" each officer. "Fatal" blows were delivered repeatedly before most officers could effectively respond.

The video proved a couple of valid points. The 21 foot rule only applies if the bad guy is slow and you are fast out of the holster. One well placed attack with the knife can be fatal. Knives are usually underestimated.

I agree with the before mentioned. I would rather face an unskilled gunman than a skilled knife weilder.

In regards to the original question, I would be doubtful of any statistic you see on knife wounds/deaths compared to firearms due to the method of, or there of, of collecting accurate statistics.

August 10, 2007, 07:15 PM
got it. thanks.


August 10, 2007, 10:13 PM

The DOJ and CDC both distinguish blade from gunshot (they parse gunshot even further) causes of death.

August 11, 2007, 03:14 AM
the U.S. Army decided they needed .45 cal. sidearms after facing knife wielding Filipinos. Presumably these troops were also armed with rifles and perhaps shotguns as well. While I doubt that most of us are going to face some nut case with a barong or a kukri the statistics regarding attacks of that nature are likely to be pretty grim.

August 11, 2007, 08:45 AM
The Moros were fanatical, used very large knives (really more short swords), and wrapped themselves very tightly, which slowed catastrophic blood loss when they were shot...and the US sidearm was an anemic .38. :D

A little knowledge goes a long way. I am certain I could successfully defend myself against any black bear I might encounter in the SouthEast, without major injury, if I were armed with any of my kukris.

August 11, 2007, 05:41 PM
If I may also point out that it is the decendants of these moslem Moros who are currently at war with all non-muslims. The Abu Sayef and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are suspected to be allied to Al Qaeda.

August 12, 2007, 09:42 AM
With a knife attack you have a chance of blocking the knife, even though you are going to get cut on the fore arms. I recall both hearing that both of the victims of the OJ. Simpson attacks had multiple cuts on their fore arms, and this was commonly found on knife attack victims. While this may have bought them additional time, the attacker was persistent, and they were not able to get away.

You cannot parry a bullet.

On another forum there was a guy describing Hog hunting with a Cold Steel Trailmaster. This is a big bowie type knife. He knew what to aim for, and the kill read as though it was very quick. He had been advised what to aim for, apparently went for the heart, the big blade went deep into the chest cavity, and as the animal was struggling, it just cut even more. An attack where some deep penetrating cutting device sweeps the lungs, heart, that is going to cause a quick bleed out.

August 12, 2007, 10:34 AM
The Journal of Trauma (36:4 pp516-524) looked at all injury admissions to a Seattle hospital over a six year period. The mortality rate for
gunshot wounds was 22% while that for stab wounds was 4%.


It occurs to me that "all injury admissions" for gunshot wounds would include accidents, attempted suicides, and assaults. The mechanism of injury would be roughly the same in each case: a gunshot hole somewhere on the body, most often the head or torso.

As with gunshot injuries, "all injury admissions" for knife wounds would include accidents, attempted suicides, and assaults. The mechanism of injury for knife wounds for each of these is going to be significantly different in each case, with a predictably wide variance in outcomes. More specifically, the accident and attempted-suicide categories would specifically be injuries to the extremities rather than to the torso or head. If the knife slipped and you cut off a finger while chopping veggies, or even if you slit your wrists, that's not going to cause anything like the same type of damage that multiple stab or slash wounds to the torso, head, or neck would cause.

Because of the conflation of accident statistics with assault statistics, I don't think those statistics, fascinating though they are, can really answer the question the OP was asking.


August 12, 2007, 12:47 PM
what Pax said.............:D

August 12, 2007, 03:30 PM
thanks for the replys. and thanks to pax for re-focusing the thread back to my question.

i wish that i had bookmarkrd the site that i mentioned in original post. it was referencing some '. gov' site...wish i could remember.

at any rate, from what i remember, there was a much higher fatality rate from edged weapon assaults than with handguns. i realize its kinda tough to do a 'drive-by' with a buck 110.

one thing that i do recall though was that about 80 of handgun wounds were survived, at least past the er admission. those on the receiving end of edged weapon assaults were much less likely.

wish i knew more about the sampling and source.

thanx again,


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