Violence and Healthcare: The Tip of the Iceberg

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In 2005 there were over 308,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. related to violence, totaling $2.3 billion. The causes of these hospitalizations were: self-inflicted violence, assaults and physical and/or emotional abuse. Boys and men accounted for 82.4% of the hospital stays for assaults; girls and women accounted for 63.9% of the stays related to physical and/or emotional abuse and 58.5% of the stays related to self-inflicted violence.

Injuries to the skull, brain and face from assault were 38.6% of the hospital admissions. Injuries to the skull, brain and face from physical abuse were 7.5%. The vast majority of the admissions were through emergency rooms with 2% of the total admissions dying while in the hospital.Violence is a major cause of preventable hospital admissions and a source of a significant portion of our health care expense dollars. It is also a source of brain injuries and psychiatric illnesses which will have lifelong implications for the victims.What we see of the violence related hospital admissions is comparable to what we see with an iceberg. About 10% is visible and 90% lies below the water. What we don't immediately see in the already large statistics are the long term costs to society, both visible and invisible, for the victims throughout their lives.

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