Full-Text Friday: Self Inflicted Injuries among Children in United States

After a few weeks off, our popular series, Full-Text Fridays is back. This week’s article looks at self-inflicted injuries among children in the US. Click through for all of the details:

Citation: PLoS One. 2013 Jul 18;8(7):e69874. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069874. Self Inflicted Injuries among Children in United States – estimates from a nationwide emergency department sample. Sulyman N, Kim MK, Rampa S, Allareddy V, Nalliah RP, Allareddy V.

Why this article? In forensics we often deal in issues of interpersonal violence. But some of our patients present following self-inflicted violence, either as a stand alone issue, or in addition to previous experiences of interpersonal violence. Some of those patients do not survive. Understanding the specific burden of self-inflicted injury in patients under the age of 18 will assist clinicians in screening for the full complement of healthcare issues that our patients may face. But this study also reminds us about the actual cost of violence, which can’t be ignored when considering the cost of the work we do.

Key quote:  There actually isn’t one, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a worthwhile study to review. There are some interesting findings, but no one specific statement that sums it all up. Be sure to check out the tables, which are revealing. And while it wasn’t the focus of this article, this statement was particularly interesting to me: Previous studies have shown that use of firearms is the leading cause of fatal self- inflicted injuries. In the current study, use of firearms was reported in less than 1% of all ED visits and this could explain the low mortality rates observed. Restricting access to firearms has been reported to be an effective approach to prevent suicides.