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Accidents 40% of ER Gun Injuries

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Across the state, four out of 10 people who come to hospital emergency rooms with nonfatal gunshot wounds were shot by accident, according to the Orlando Sentinel (paywall alert). The rate is even higher in Orange County, with accidents accounting for more than half of firearm-related ER visits.

It’s hard to compare Florida’s rate to the rest of the nation. The numbers the Sentinel used to determine Florida’s accidental shooting rate come from the Agency for Health Care Administration, keeps a “direct count of each gunshot injury treated in a hospital,” the Sentinel reports. National estimates are done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which based its estimates on a sample of 66 hospitals nationwide.

Critics of the numbers say the data and estimates from hospitals may be unreliable.

As the Sentinel reports, patients who survived firearm accidents racked up $57 million in charges in Florida hospitals and emergency rooms last year. AHCA says half of those bills were paid by Medicare and Medicaid.

In other headlines involving gun violence, a vigil in Jacksonville marked the one-year anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., and used the opportunity to push for tighter gun control, the Florida Times-Union reported.

Also, the Tampa Bay Times reports on an accidental firearm injury that happened last week, when a driver in Pasco County was hit by a stray bullet (paywall alert).

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.