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Comment & Response
April 4, 2017

Research on Gun Violence vs Other Causes of Death

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Health System Design and Global Health, Institute for Next Generation Healthcare, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York
  • 2Division of Biomedical Informatics Research, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
JAMA. 2017;317(13):1379. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.2440

In Reply Dr Oud questions our use of sepsis as a comparator in highlighting research funding disparities between gun violence and other leading causes of death. He notes that sepsis may not be readily comparable to gun violence due to challenges in estimating sepsis mortality and essential differences in the scope of research pertaining to sepsis vs gun violence. We agree that challenges underlie accurate estimation of sepsis-related mortality (and likely other causes of death as well). Our study used national mortality statistics based on death certificates compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC has addressed variability in their estimates of sepsis mortality (based on death certificates) in comparison with those based on administrative claims data, and they cite limitations inherent to both data sources.1 Indeed, it appears likely that sepsis mortality is underestimated in the CDC’s database.