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Outcome and Cost of Child Abuse

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 21 Issue: 8 Dated: August 1997 Pages: 751-757
Jose E. Irazuzta; James E. McJunkin; Kapriel Danadian; Forest Arnold; Jianliang Zhang
Date Published
August 1997
7 pages
A retrospective cohort study of all individuals admitted to a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) between January 1991 and August 1994 compared the cases of child abuse with other admissions with respect to health care costs, the severity of illness, mortality, and other outcomes.
The research focused on the discharge diagnosis, age, severity of illness, mortality rate, length of stay, hospitalization charges, and mortality. Thirteen of the PICU admissions were secondary to child abuse. Cases of child abuse represented 1.4 percent of the admissions and 17 percent of the deaths. Abused children had the highest severity of illness, hospitalization costs ($30,684), daily charges ($5,294), and mortality rates (53 percent) of any group. The medical bills for the acute care of an abused child admitted to the PICU averaged $35,641. Even with these expenditures, 70 percent died and 60 percent of the survivors had severe residual morbidity. Findings confirmed that interventional medical care in response to severe child abuse is costly and that ultimate outcome is significantly worse than other diseases. Therefore, resources should be allocated to child abuse prevention. Tables and 36 references (Author abstract modified)