DOCTOR'S VIEW ARCHIVE
Injuries in AmericaMedical Authors and Editors: Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D. and Frederick Hecht, M.D.
Sept 3, 2004 -- Each year in the US, one in every six people requires medical treatment for an injury, and one in 10 people goes to a hospital emergency room for treatment of a nonfatal injury. This is according to the first national report on the magnitude of injuries. The report prepared by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) was based on data from the year 2001.
The Magnitude of the Problem
In 2001, approximately 29,700,000 persons with nonfatal injuries were treated in US hospital emergency departments. That is about 3,400 people treated every hour for injuries that were not fatal.
The fatality rates for older persons were higher than for younger persons.
The fatality rates were higher for males than females.
The fatality rates were higher for self-harm injuries than for assault and unintentional injuries.
For fatal injuries, 65% were unintentional, and 33% were violence-related (including homicides, legal intervention, and suicide).
For nonfatal injuries, 93% were unintentional, and 7% were violence-related (including assaults, legal intervention, and self-harm).
Causes of Injuries
The leading cause of nonfatal injury was unintentional falls.
For nonfatal injuries, the majority of injured persons were treated in emergency rooms for lacerations (26%), strains/sprains (20%), and contusions/abrasions (18%). The majority of the injuries were to the head and neck region (30%) and to the extremities, the arms and legs (48%).