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Impact of Traumatic Suicide Methods on a Level I Trauma Center

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Suicide is a major, preventable public health issue. Although firearm-related mechanisms commonly result in death, nonfirearm methods cause significant morbidity and healthcare expenditures. The goal of this study is to compare risk factors and outcomes of firearm and nonfirearm traumatic suicide methods. This retrospective cohort study identified 146 patients who attempted traumatic suicide between 2002 and 2007 at a Level I trauma center. Overall, mean age was 40.2 years, 83 per cent were male, 74 per cent were white, and mean Injury Severity Score (ISS) was 12.7. Most individuals (53%) attempted suicide by firearms and 25 per cent died (84% firearm, 16% nonfirearm techniques). Subjects were more likely to die if they were older than 60 years-old, presented with an ISS greater than 16, or used a firearm. On average, patients using a firearm were older and had a higher ISS and mortality rate compared with those using nonfirearm methods. There was no statistical difference between cohorts with regard to gender, ethnicity, positive drug and alcohol screens, requirement for operation, intensive care unit admission, and hospital length of stay. Nonfirearm traumatic suicide prevention strategies aimed at select individuals may decrease overall attempts, reduce mechanism-related mortality, and potentially impact healthcare expenditures.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Section of Trauma/Critical Care Surgery, Department of Surgery, Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine, Augusta, Georgia, USA

Publication date: 01 February 2010

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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