Impact of traumatic suicide methods on a Level I trauma center

James G. Bittner, Michael L. Hawkins, Linda R. Atteberry, Colville H. Ferdinand, Regina S. Medeiros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Suicide is a major, preventable public health issue. Although firearm-related mechanisms commonly result in death, nonfirearm methods cause significant morbidity and healthcare expenditures. The goal of this study is to compare risk factors and outcomes of firearm and nonfirearm traumatic suicide methods. This retrospective cohort study identified 146 patients who attempted traumatic suicide between 2002 and 2007 at a Level I trauma center. Overall, mean age was 40.2 years, 83 per cent were male, 74 per cent were white, and mean Injury Severity Score (ISS) was 12.7. Most individuals (53%) attempted suicide by firearms and 25 per cent died (84% firearm, 16% nonfirearm techniques). Subjects were more likely to die if they were older than 60 years-old, presented with an ISS greater than 16, or used a firearm. On average, patients using a firearm were older and had a higher ISS and mortality rate compared with those using nonfirearm methods. There was no statistical difference between cohorts with regard to gender, ethnicity, positive drug and alcohol screens, requirement for operation, intensive care unit admission, and hospital length of stay. Nonfirearm traumatic suicide prevention strategies aimed at select individuals may decrease overall attempts, reduce mechanism-related mortality, and potentially impact healthcare expenditures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-181
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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