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Traffic Crashes Send 3.5 Million to ERs

Of those, 8,000 died in emergency department, federal report shows

THURSDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. hospital emergency departments treated 3.5 million motor vehicle crash victims who had injuries ranging from bruises and scrapes to life-threatening trauma in 2006, a new government study finds.

About 85 percent (3 million) of the patients were treated and released, 321,000 were admitted or transferred to another acute care hospital for inpatient care, and about 8,000 patients died in the emergency department, according to the latest News and Numbers, released Wednesday by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The analysis of 2006 data also found that:

  • 37 percent of crash victims were treated in hospital trauma centers equipped to provide comprehensive emergency medical care to patients with life-threatening injuries, while the rest were treated in hospitals not designated as trauma centers.
  • About 55 percent of the patients had private health insurance, 25 percent were uninsured, 10 percent had Medicaid coverage, 4 percent had Medicare coverage, and 7 percent had other types of coverage.
  • 44 percent of the injuries treated were sprains, 35 percent were superficial injuries such as scrapes, 15 percent were fractures, 10 percent were open wounds, 5 percent were head injuries, and 3 percent were internal injuries of the thorax, abdomen and pelvis.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discusses motor vehicle safety.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, news release, Jan. 13, 2010

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