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Research Letter
March 18, 2020

US Hospital Type and Proximity to Mass Shooting Events

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Emergency Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 2Division of Neonatology, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 3Division of Pediatric Surgery, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
JAMA Surg. Published online March 18, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2020.0095

According to federal statistics, mass shootings have tripled in the United States in the past decade.1 These mass-casualty events can easily overwhelm the resources of local hospitals. As the number of persons injured increases, even a well-prepared center can be pushed beyond capacity. While trauma systems have been established throughout the United States to prioritize getting the right patient to the right place at the right time, travel distance, traffic, casualty volume, and injury severity often result in transport of patients to a hospital that is not a trauma center (TC). It is hypothesized that the nearest available hospitals to mass shooting events will commonly be non–trauma center (NTC) hospitals, where such patient loads are more likely to overwhelm capacity and advanced care options may be limited. This study evaluates the location of recent mass shooting events relative to nearest hospitals and TCs.

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