Mont­gomery, Clark gun­shot rates high

Coun­ties had some of Ohio’s high­est per capita rates in 2017.

Dayton Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - By Cor­nelius Fro­lik Staff Writer

State med­i­cal data show Clark and Mont­gomery coun­ties had some of the high­est per capita rates of firearm in­juries in the state in 2017.

Shoot­ings, re­gard­less if they are de­lib­er­ate or un­in­ten­tional, can cause se­vere in­juries that lead to

ex­tended hos­pi­tal­iza­tions, dis­abil­i­ties and death.

In Ohio, firearm in­juries are the fourth-high­est cause of long hospi­tal stays for se­vere and trau­matic in­juries - af­ter burns, mo­tor­cy­cle crashes and pedes­trian strikes, ac­cord­ing to this news­pa­per’s anal­y­sis of 2017 data from the Ohio Trauma Registry

In 2017, gun­shots were also the fourth lead­ing cause of se­vere and trau­matic in­juries in Mont­gomery County that led to hospi­tal­iza­tion and the fifth lead­ing cause in Clark County, the data show.

Last year, about 95 peo­ple died from gun fire in Mont­gomery County, about 86 died the year be­fore, ac­cord­ing to the Mont­gomery County Coro­ner Kent Harsh­barger.

“As far as trauma, gun­shot wounds are rel­a­tively lethal be­cause of the de­gree of en­ergy that is im­parted by a fast-mov­ing pro­jec­tile,” said Harsh­barger. “It does a lot of tis­sue dam­age, but that’s a gen­eral state­ment be­cause a gun­shot be­comes lethal be­cause of what it hits.”

In 2017, Franklin, Clark and Mont­gomery coun­ties had the high­est per capita rates of gun­shot wounds of all 88 coun­ties in the state, ac­cord­ing to data from the Ohio Trauma Registry re­port.

Franklin County, home to Colum­bus, recorded 420 gun­shot in­juries, or 33 per 100,000 res­i­dents, ac­cord­ing to the re­cently re­leased re­port.

Clark County, which is a lit­tle more than one-tenth the size of Franklin County, had 42 gun­shot wounds, or 31 per 100,000 res­i­dents. Mont­gomery County had 152 gun­shot wounds, or 29 per 100,000 res­i­dents.

About 13 Ohio coun­ties recorded no gun­shot inju- ries in 2017.

The Ohio Trauma Registry col­lects and re­ports data about pa­tients from all the trauma cen­ter and hospi­tal reg­is­trars across the state.

Some gun­shot in­juries recorded by the registry oc­curred out of state but the pa­tients were trans­ferred to an Ohio hospi­tal or trauma cen­ter for treat­ment.

The registry does not try to iden­tify whether the inju- ries were in­ten­tional, acci- den­tal or self-in­flicted. Peo­ple who died at the scene of a shoot­ing and not hos­pi­tal­ized are not in­cluded in the num­bers.

Falls and au­to­mo­bile crashes were the lead­ing causes of se­vere and trau- matic in­juries statewide and in Clark and Mont­gomery coun­ties and in 2017, the registry data show.

The ma­jor­ity of gun­shot vic­tims in Mont­gomery and Clark coun­ties wind up at the Mi­ami Val­ley Hospi­tal’s Level I trauma cen­ter, said Peter Ekeh, a sur­geon and med­i­cal di­rec­tor of the trauma pro­gram.

The Trauma Cen­ter, the only Level I in the Day­ton area, pro­vides care to the most crit­i­cally in­jured pa­tients in 17 coun­ties in south­west Ohio and east­ern In­di­ana, the hospi­tal said.

Many gun­shot vic­tims are re­leased from the hospi­tal the same day, some­times within hours, if they were grazed or suf­fered only flesh wounds. Other shoot­ings cause frac­tures and man­gle or­gans and blood ves­sels.

Some gun­shot vic­tims re­quire ma­jor surgery and can spend weeks in the in­ten­sive care unit at the hospi­tal, Ekeh said.

De­pend­ing on cir­cum­stances of the shoot­ing, gun­shot vic­tims can suf­fer from lin­ger­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fects, like Post Trau­matic Stress Disor­der, Ekeh said.

In 2017, about 17.6 per­cent of gun­shot vic­tims treated in Ohio spent eight or more days hos­pi­tal­ized, ac­cord­ing to registry data.

Only burn vic­tims, peo­ple in mo­tor­cy­cle crashes and pedes­tri­ans struck by ve­hi­cles were more likely to have such long stays in the hospi­tal, the data show.

Gun­shot vic­tims are about five times more likely to re­quire blood trans­fu­sion than other trauma pa­tients and on av­er­age use about 10 times more blood, ac­cord­ing to a study of 23,422 trauma pa­tients by re­searchers at Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity.

Gun­shot vic­tims over­all were 14 times more likely to die from their in­juries than other trauma pa­tients, the Johns Hop­kins re­search found.

Last year, the coro­ner ruled one shoot­ing death ac­ci­den­tal, 51 homi­cides, 39 sui­cides and four were un­de­ter­mined, Harsh­barger said.

Gun­shot wounds aren’t usu­ally clas­si­fied as an ac­ci­dent un­less the de­ceased was de­ter­mined to be very in­tox­i­cated or there’s clear ev­i­dence they were clean­ing their weapon. “We can’t read peo­ple’s minds” and there’s not al­ways ev­i­dence like a sui­cide note, Harsh­barger said.

Homi­cides and sui­cides by firearm rep­re­sent a frac­tion of to­tal coro­ner cases, he said.

“In to­tal cases, they are very low but they are very hazardous be­cause of where peo­ple are hit and the speed of the bul­let,” he said.

JIM NOELKER / STAFF 2018

A man was shot at a Shell sta­tion at 3613 North Main St. in Day­ton on Sept. 6, 2018. Ini­tial re­ports in­di­cated there may have been an al­ter­ca­tion be­tween the vic­tim and the sus­pect.

MAR­SHALL GORBY / STAFF 2018

In 2017, about 17.6 per­cent of gun­shot vic­tims treated in Ohio spent eight or more days hos­pi­tal­ized, ac­cord­ing to the Ohio Trauma Registry.

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