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March 2017

The Toll of Death and Disability From Traumatic Injury in the United States—The “Neglected Disease” of Modern Society, Still Neglected After 50 Years

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Surgery, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
  • 2Department of Surgery, University of Tennessee, Memphis, Memphis
  • 3Department of Surgery, Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
JAMA Surg. 2017;152(3):221-222. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2016.4625

In a seminal 1966 report, the National Research Council (NRC) declared1(p5) that unintentional injury is the “neglected epidemic of modern society [and] the nation’s most important environmental health problem.” The report noted that traumatic injuries were the leading cause of death for Americans younger than 40 years. At that time, 52 million unintentional injuries (excluding suicides) killed 107 000 people, temporarily disabled more than 10 million, and permanently impaired 400 000 American citizens at a cost of approximately $18 billion each year.1,2

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