Firearms Injuries Involving Children up 244% in Metro Area

If it seems like metro San Antonio has become a more violent place over the past four years, the numbers bear you out on that, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

University Hospital today released its annual Trauma Report for 2017, and Dr. Lillian Lao, Director of the Pediatric Trauma and Burn Unit, says her department has gotten significantly busier.

“In 2013, our center treated just over 1,000 seriously injured children,” she said.  “Fast forward five years, and we are seeing nearly 2,000 critically injured children in South Texas."

Dr. Lao says the number of children under the age of 17 who are brought to the ER with intentional gunshot wounds, for example, is up 244% since 2013, far more than the regions increasing population.

“That is a number that should be zero,” she says.

Dr. Lao says the number of children suffering from burns is also up sharply.

“As the only pediatric burn center in South Texas, we are seeing an increasing number of children burned from scalding food and fireworks.”

The vast majority of burn injuries take place in the victim’s home, and the largest number, 16%, are caused by scalding hot soup.  Other burns include boiling water, hot drinks, hairstyling tools and ‘explosive materials.’  62% of these serious burn patients were under the age of 5.

Among adults, motorcycle crashes saw the largest increase over the four year span, up 367%.  Increases were also seen in car crashes (up 173%) and pedestrians struck by vehicles, up 89%.

The number one cause of serious injury among adults remains falls, largely due to an ageing population.

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