HealthDay News — Based on a research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, emergency rooms across the United States have been seeing injuries from gun violence becoming increasingly severe.

Angela Sauaia, MD, PhD, a professor of public health and surgery at the University of Colorado in Denver, and colleagues based their study on 28,948 patients who came to the trauma center at the Denver Health Medical Center from 2000 to 2013. Of these patients, 5.8% arrived with gunshot wounds.

Over that time, the number of deaths from gunshot wounds increased significantly, while deaths from other types of trauma either remained stable or decreased, the researchers found. The severity of the wounds also increased significantly. 

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While technology and education are helping to make cars and bicycles safer, “firearms are moving in the exact opposite direction,” Sauaia told HealthDay. “They are becoming progressively more dangerous.”

“If you are in a car crash today, you are more likely to survive than you were 10 years ago due to safer cars and improvements in trauma care”, Sauaia noted. “However, if you get shot today, you are more likely to die than if you were shot 10 years ago, despite our excellent trauma care,” she said. “Firearm injuries are becoming more lethal due to an increased number and severity of wounds they inflict.”


Sauaia A, Gonzalez E, Moore HB, Bol K, Moore EE. Fatality and Severity of Firearm Injuries in a Denver Trauma Center, 2000-2013. JAMA. 2016;315(22):2465-7. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.5978.