Resident’s Study Examines Frequency of Emergency Department Visits After Injuries Sustained During Law Enforcement Interventions

Apr 19, 2017


Upward angle photo entrance to Weill Cornell medical center

A new article by a resident in the Department of Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medicine looks at emergency department (ED) visits for patients who have sustained injuries during law enforcement interventions in the United States. Dr. Elinore Kaufman, along with co-authors from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, writes in JAMA Surgery that from 2006-2012, there were roughly 51,000 ED visits and hospital admissions per year for patients injured during law enforcement interventions.

“While public attention has surged in recent years, we found these frequencies – approximately 51,000 visits per year – to be stable over seven years, indicating this has been a longer-term phenomenon,” the authors write.

The researchers used the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS), a nationally-representative sample of ED visits, to determine whether the incidence of ED visits for injuries after law enforcement interventions changed in this time period. The researchers aimed to add to existing literature on injuries after law enforcement interventions by establishing the frequency of non-fatal injuries, which far outnumber deaths, and assess for trend over time. They also sought to establish a baseline for future study.

“We can use existing public health data to guide injury prevention interventions, and our findings serve as a baseline for communities, clinicians, law enforcement agencies and policy makers,” said Dr. Kaufman.