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Child Abuse Negl. 2000 Aug;24(8):1019-25.

Child maltreatment related injuries: incidence, hospital charges, and correlates of hospitalization.

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Department of Family Medicine, Scott & White Memorial Hospital and Clinic, Scott, Sherwood and Brindley Foundation, Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, College of Medicine, Temple, USA.



This study was undertaken to determine the incidence, hospital charges, and correlates associated with inpatient treatment of child maltreatment related injuries.


The data were based on the 1995 Pennsylvania Hospital Discharge Data which included all Pennsylvania acute care hospitals that reported child maltreatment discharges. Per capita hospital discharge rates were computed for children discharged with child maltreatment related injuries according to selected variables. Odds ratios for child maltreatment related injury hospitalizations were also computed.


A total of 348 maltreated injured children ages 0-19 years were discharged from Pennsylvania hospitals in 1995, representing an incidence rate of 10.8 per 100,000 persons. The total hospital charges for child maltreatment related injury discharges amounted to over $5.4 million, of which Medicaid alone paid for 45%. Compared to a random sample of non-maltreated injured children (n = 1052), maltreated injured children were found to be significantly younger, more likely to be females, and more likely to be Black. Child maltreatment related injury hospitalizations were more likely to be urgent and via physician referral or transfer from other health care facility. Maltreated injured children were three times as likely to die as other children.


These findings indicate that injury from child maltreatment is a major cause of hospitalization of young children 5 years and younger and represents a significant cost to publicly financed health care. While hospital discharge data can be used for population-based surveillance of child maltreatment related trauma, there is need for improvement in the surveillance of these injuries.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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