Pediatric Firearm Injuries and Fatalities: Do Racial Disparities Exist?

Joseph V. Sakran, Michael Nance, Taylor Riall, Samer Asmar, Mohamad Chehab, Bellal Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate racial disparities among White and Black pediatric firearm injury patients on a national level. BACKGROUND: Pediatric firearm-related morbidity and mortality are rising in the United States. There is a paucity of data examining racial disparities in those patients. METHODS: The Pediatric Trauma Quality Improvement Program (2017) was queried for pediatric (age ≤17 years) patients admitted with firearm injuries. Patients were stratified by race: White and Black. Injury characteristics were assessed. Outcomes were mortality, hospital length of stay, and discharge disposition. Hierarchical regression models were performed to determine predictors of mortality and longer hospital stays. RESULTS: A total of 3717 pediatric firearm injury patients were identified: Blacks (67.0%) and Whites (33.0%). The majority of patients were male (84.2%). The most common injury intent in both groups was assault (77.3% in Blacks vs in 45.4% Whites; P<0.001), followed by unintentional (21.1% vs 35.4%; P<0.001), and suicide (1.0% vs 14.0%; P<0.001). The highest fatality rate was in suicide injuries (62.6%). On univariate analysis, White children had higher mortality (17.5% vs 9.8%; P<0.001), longer hospital stay [3 (1-7) vs 2 (1-5) days; P = 0.021], and more psychiatric hospital admissions (1.3% vs 0.1%; P<0.001). On multivariate analysis, suicide intent was found to be an independent predictor of mortality (aOR 2.67; 95% CI 1.35-5.29) and longer hospital stay (β + 4.13; P<0.001), while White race was not. CONCLUSION: Assault is the leading intent of injury in both Black and White children, but White children suffer more from suicide injuries that are associated with worse outcomes. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level III Prognostic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)556-561
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of surgery
Volume272
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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