Self Inflicted Injuries among Children in United States - estimates from a nationwide emergency department sample

Naseem Sulyman, Min Kyeong Kim, Sankeerth Rampa, Veerasathpurush Allareddy, Romesh P Nalliah, Veerajalandhar Allareddy
PloS One 2013, 8 (7): e69874

OBJECTIVE: The objectives of the current study are to provide nationally representative estimates of hospital based emergency department visits (ED) attributed to self inflicted injuries and attempted suicides among children in United States; and to identify potential methods of such intentional self inflicted injuries and attempted suicides.

METHODS: The Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (year 2007) was used. All ED visits occurring among children (aged ≤18 years) with an External Cause of Injury for any of self inflicted injuries were selected. Outcomes examined include hospital ED charges and hospitalization charges. All estimates were projected to national levels.

RESULTS: 77,420 visits to hospital based emergency departments were attributed to self inflicted injuries among children (26,045 males and 51,370 females). The average age of the ED visits was 15.7 years. 134 patients died in ED's (106 males and 28 females) and 93 died in hospitals following in-patient admission (75 males and 18 females). A greater proportion of male ED visits were discharged routinely as opposed to female ED visits (51.1% versus 44%). A greater proportion of male ED visits also died in the emergency departments compared to female visits (0.4% versus 0.05%). 17,965 ED visits necessitated admission into same hospital. The mean charge for each ED visit was $1,874. Self inflicted injuries by poisoning were the most frequently reported sources accounting for close to 70% of all ED visits.

CONCLUSIONS: Females comprise a greater proportion of ED visits attributed to self inflicted injuries. 227 children died either in the ED's or in hospitals. The current study results highlight the burden associated with such injuries among children.

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