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Gunshot Sensors Improve Odds for Shooting Victims

New technology helped police find victims and get them care quickly, study shows

ambulance stretcher

TUESDAY, Oct. 24, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Gunshot sensors may help speed treatment of shooting victims and potentially improve outcomes for those with the most serious injuries, a new study suggests.

About 90 U.S. cities have installed the sensors to help pinpoint shooting scenes and find victims. Fewer than 20 percent of shots fired are reported to police, according to the researchers.

They analyzed the cases of 731 gunshot victims, including 192 who were identified with acoustic gunshot sensors.

Victims who'd been located by sensors were more likely to have more severe injuries, spend more days on mechanical ventilation and more time in the hospital and need an operation. However, the difference in the death rate for sensor-located victims and other victims was not statistically significant (12 percent vs. 10 percent), according to the study.

"We found that gunshot victims whom we could connect to a gunshot sensor activation experienced decreased pre-hospital time and emergency medical service on-scene times compared with those who were presumably discovered due to standard policing methods," said study author Dr. Magdalene Brooke. She is a general surgery resident at the University of California, San Francisco-East Bay.

"These patients also experienced a similar mortality to the control group, despite having higher injury severity scores, suggesting that this method of alerting police may lead to better than expected outcomes," she added.

The findings were to be presented Tuesday at the American College of Surgeons (ACS) meeting, in San Diego.

The findings show that "the use of gunshot sensor technology by police may help paramedics treat and transport these patients to the hospital more rapidly," Brooke said in an ACS news release.

Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has more on gun violence.

SOURCE: American College of Surgeons, news release, Oct. 24, 2017
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