An Epidemic Amidst a Pandemic: Musculoskeletal Firearm Injuries During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Paul M. Inclan, Katherine Velicki, Ryan Christ, Anna N. Miller, David M. Brogan, Christopher J. Dy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has substantially impacted the delivery of health care, both through direct care associated with COVID-19 and through more pervasive effects. Our goal was to evaluate whether the number of orthopaedic consultations for firearm injuries differed during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic compared with the same period in prior years. We hypothesized that the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, compared with the same period in prior years, would have a higher number of orthopaedic consultations for firearm injuries and a lower rate of outpatient follow-up after consultations. METHODS: A prospectively collected database of orthopaedic trauma consultations at a level-I trauma center was queried for firearm injuries. We compared the number of orthopaedic consultations for firearm injury during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic (March 23, 2020, to September 30, 2020, referred to as the pandemic group) with identical dates from 2017 to 2019 (referred to as the pre-pandemic group). Outpatient follow-up rates, ZIP codes (and associated Area Deprivation Index), and demographic data were compared between the pandemic group and the pre-pandemic group. RESULTS: During the entire study period, 552 orthopaedic consultations for firearm injuries were identified. There was a 63% increase in the daily mean number of firearm injury consultations in the pandemic group, to 1.01, compared with the pre-pandemic group, 0.62 (p < 0.001). There was no difference in the rate of outpatient follow-up: 66% for the pandemic group and 72% for the pre-pandemic group. There was no difference in the percentage of patients from the most socially deprived decile: 45.3% in the pandemic group and 49.5% in the pre-pandemic group. Patients presenting during the pandemic were more often uninsured (75.8%) relative to the pre-pandemic group (67.9%), with a lack of health insurance significantly decreasing the likelihood of outpatient follow-up (p < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Compared with the same period in prior years, there was a significant increase in the number of orthopaedic consultations for firearm injuries during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic in our community. Patient race, socioeconomic status, and outpatient follow-up were similar between the pandemic group and the pre-pandemic group. There was a higher proportion of uninsured patients within the pandemic group and a lower rate of follow-up among those without insurance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-220
Number of pages6
JournalThe Journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume
Volume104
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2 2022

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'An Epidemic Amidst a Pandemic: Musculoskeletal Firearm Injuries During the COVID-19 Pandemic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this