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December 9, 1988

The Economic Impact of Traumatic Injuries: One-Year Treatment-Related Expenditures

JAMA. 1988;260(22):3290-3296. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410220074031

Considerable attention has focused in recent years on developing estimates of the economic costs associated with illness and injury. Consistent throughout all of this work has been the finding that traumatic injuries rank among the most costly of conditions. This article provides detailed information on one-year charges related to the receipt of health care and rehabilitation services for a panel of 487 trauma patients aged 16 to 45 years who were injured severely enough to be initially hospitalized at one of two trauma centers. Per case one-year treatment charges ranged from an average of $8100 for those sustaining minor (Abbreviated Injury Scale severity score of 1 or 2) injuries to $105 350 for those with severe (Abbreviated Injury Scale severity score of 5) head or spinal cord injuries. When results were generalized to the population of all individuals aged 16 to 45 years who were hospitalized in Maryland hospitals in 1983 for treatment of an injury, total charges were estimated at $109 million, with 43% of the total incurred by individuals with a principal injury to one or more of the extremities.

(JAMA 1988;260:3290-3296)