Nonfatal injuries can cost big money

Nonfatal injuries can cost big money

Nonfatal injuries that require hospital treatment can lead to massive bills. How large? On average, more than $66,000 for common injuries such as a fall or being hit by an object. And the bill for treatment can just be the start: The cost of lost wages due to permanent disability for Americans in a single recent year was $223 billion.

Those are some of the findings by a Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia researcher and his colleagues, who assessed the cumulative costs for various nonfatal injuries in 2013. The findings were published in the journal Injury Epidemiology.

One in 10 people in the U.S. are treated in the hospital for injury each year, resulting in $168 billion in medical spending. The findings also show the wide disparity in addressing different types of injuries: A poisoning case cost an average of just more than $50,000. For a gunshot victim, the cost topped $310,000. Overall, near-drownings, self-harm, and gun-related violence were the most costly injuries.

The study also revealed that falls and being hit by objects were the most common types of injuries people reported, accounting for 35 percent of all nonfatal injury costs.

The findings are significant, researchers noted, because they reveal some of the most current figures for the aggregate costs of hospital treatments for nonfatal injuries. While the study does not recommend how to control costs for treating nonfatal injuries, it provides a better measure of the financial burden of such cases by accounting for multiple consequences such as the severity of the injury and resulting disabilities.

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