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Most Motorcycle Injuries Treated at City Hospitals

Accidents cost $842 million, study finds

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 24, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Urban teaching hospitals treat the majority of motorcycle crash-related injures in the United States, according to a study in the December issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The study found that these hospitals accounted for nearly 70 percent of the $842 million in total hospital charges for motorcycle-related patient cases in 2001. That high percentage may be due to the fact that people with head injuries from motorcycle crashes are more likely to be admitted to urban teaching hospitals.

"These patients had longer stays, with higher total charges. They were also more likely to be self-pay. These cases likely contribute a substantial economic burden to academic medical centers," study author Dr. Jeffrey Coben, Allegheny General Hospital, said in a prepared statement.

He and his colleagues found that about 16 percent of people hospitalized for motorcycle injuries were uninsured and another 10 percent used public insurance, such as Medicaid, during their hospitalization.

Head injuries were more likely in motorcycle traffic crashes than in non-traffic crashes that occurred in parking lots or on farms. Broken legs were the most common injures among patients hospitalized for motorcycle-related injuries.

"On average, for each day in 2001, there were approximately 25 new lower extremity fractures, 10 new intracranial injuries, and one new spinal cord injury resulting from motorcycle crashes," Coben said.

Motorcycle-related injuries and deaths in the United States have increased substantially since 1997, Coben noted, adding that might be the result of a rollback or weakening of mandatory helmet laws in several states.

More information

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has information on motorcycle safety.

SOURCE: Center for the Advancement of Health, news release, Nov. 22, 2004
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