Study Reveals Extensive Medical and Psychological Needs of Gun Violence Survivors

Study Reveals Extensive Medical and Psychological Needs of Gun Violence Survivors

A recent study conducted by Harvard Medical School has shed light on the significant medical and psychological needs of gun violence survivors and their families. The research found that child and adolescent survivors of shootings were more than twice as likely to experience a pain disorder compared to their peers. They were also 68% more likely to have a psychiatric diagnosis and 144% more likely to develop a substance use disorder.

Gun violence remains a pressing issue in the United States, with firearm injuries being the leading cause of death for individuals aged 1 to 19 in 2020 and 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study highlights that the population affected by firearm violence extends beyond deaths alone.

The financial burden on survivors and their families is substantial. The study revealed that being shot added an average of $35,000 to the healthcare costs of each young person studied. The severity of the injury correlated with higher costs and increased medical complications. Insurance coverage often falls short, leaving families to bear additional out-of-pocket expenses.

The study also examined the effects of a child’s shooting on the entire family. Parents of gun-injured children were found to have a 30% higher prevalence of psychiatric disorders compared to parents of uninjured children. Mothers of injured children made 75% more mental health visits than other mothers, indicating the toll it takes on caregivers.

Access to specialized care poses challenges for survivors, particularly those in rural areas or reliant on public transportation. Physical therapists, occupational therapists, and prosthetic makers are often necessary for ongoing care, requiring frequent travel. Even in major cities, the best-equipped hospitals may be out of reach for families without reliable transportation.

The psychological impact of child shootings may be underestimated due to stigma and fear of punishment. Patients may not disclose their struggles with depression or substance use, leading to underreporting in medical records. The study emphasizes the need for comprehensive support systems to address the long-term effects of gun violence.

Oronde McClain, a survivor of gun violence, shared his personal experience, highlighting the lack of support for survivors. McClain suffered severe injuries at the age of 10, resulting in partial paralysis, seizures, and post-traumatic stress disorder. He expressed the need for greater recognition and assistance for survivors, stating, “People who die, they get funerals and balloon releases. Survivors don’t get anything.”

The study’s findings underscore the urgent need for comprehensive healthcare and support services for gun violence survivors and their families. It calls for a collective effort to address the physical, emotional, and financial burdens faced by those affected by gun violence.


Author: CrimeDoor

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