Firearms are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Few studies exist to investigate the impact of pre-hospital transportation methods on trauma patient outcomes.
Patients with firearm injuries were identified using an institutional trauma registry (2008 to 2017). Data on patient demographics, hospital transportation, treatments, and outcomes was collected and analyzed. Patient characteristics between Emergency Medical Services (EMS) vs. police transport groups were compared using Kruskal-Wallis, chi-square, or Fisher’s exact tests as appropriate.
Of 224 patients identified, 147 (66%) were transported by EMS and 77 (34%) were transported by police. There was no significant difference in patient demographics between groups. Most patients were male (94.2%) and African American (69.2%), with a mean age of 27.1 years. 84.4% of patients suffered from an externally-inflicted gunshot wound, while 9.4% of patients had inflicted the wound themselves. Handguns were the weapon most commonly used. There was no significant difference in in-hospital treatments or mortality between patients transported by EMS vs. police. 44.1% of patients underwent surgery, and 34.8% required specialist consultation. The mean hospital length of stay for all patients was 1 day, and 27.7% of all patients expired during admission.
There is no difference in hospital treatment or mortality between firearm victims transported by EMS vs. police.