Unlike Car Accidents, Gun Injuries Are Becoming More Lethal

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Angela Sauaia MD PhD Professor of Public Health, Medicine, and Surger University of Colorado Denver

Dr. Angela Sauaia

Angela Sauaia MD PhD
Professor of Public Health, Medicine, and Surgery
University of Colorado Denver

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Authors: Americans mourn firearm related fatalities every day. Mass shootings are just the tip of the iceberg of the daily tragedy witnessed by trauma surgeons in emergency rooms. Industries strive to reduce the perils associated with motor vehicles, pedestrian and bicycles accidents, just to cite a few, through technology and education. Firearms move in the exact opposite direction. They are becoming progressively more dangerous and we have done little in terms of education to prevent accidents. The same trend is true for monitoring statistics. It is not difficult to obtain statistics on which type of car was associated with more accidents or fatalities. Conversely, trying to obtain data on which type of firearms are more likely to result in accidents or death is extremely difficult. We used the best data we could find and found that, contrary to every other injury mechanism, firearm injuries are becoming more lethal. In simple words, if you get into a car accident today, you are more likely to survive it due to improvements in trauma care and safety of vehicles than 10 years ago. On the other hand, if you get shot today, you are more likely to die than if you were shot 10 years ago, despite our excellent trauma care.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Authors: Firearm injuries are becoming more lethal due to an increased number and severity of wounds they inflict. Are we, as a society, willing to accept this trend?

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Authors: Regardless of how people feel about gun control, there are a number of things we can all agree upon:

1) Children and persons without emotional and mental stability should not have access to unlocked, loaded guns;
2) Improve safety of guns, by using technology (e.g., “smart” guns); and
3) Adding counseling about firearm safety to primary care.

We should start the discussion on these common grounds.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Authors: On behalf of my co-authors, I would like to thank JAMA and, specifically, the editor Dr. Jody Zylke, for giving us the opportunity to publish our study. Also, I invite all to read the editorial “Gun violence in the United States: A call to action” just published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.  The editorial, which has been made open access, was authored by the journal’s managing editor, Jennifer Crebs, myself and the journal’s editor-in-chief and world renown trauma surgeon Ernest “Gene” Moore. It contains  astonishing statistics and history as well as calls to action on the daily tragedy of firearm injuries.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


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):2465-2467. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.5978.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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