Do criminals go to the hospital when they are shot?

Category: Crime, Defensive Gun Use|Journal: Injury Prevention (full text)|Author: A Hall, D Hemenway, J May|Posted On: January 01,2002

Objectives: To determine whether criminals go to the hospital when they are shot. Such information is needed to check on the accuracy of using hospital emergency room data to estimate non-fatal gunshot wounds.

Setting: Five jails across the US.

Methods: A survey of inmates being booked into jail, administered by in-house health care staff.

Results: Over 90% of over 300 criminals who had been wounded sometime before their incarceration reported going to a hospital for treatment after being shot. These results are consistent with previous findings from one jail.

Conclusions: Jail inmates who had previously been shot were likely to have been treated in a hospital. This limited finding is consistent with the proposition that hospital/emergency department data may miss only a small percentage of gunshot wounds to criminals.