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Costs for long-term healthcare after a police shooting in Ontario, Canada


Importance — Police shootings can cause serious acute injury, and knowledge of subsequent health outcomes may inform interventions to improve care.

Objective — To analyze long-term healthcare costs among survivors of police shootings compared with those surviving nonfirearm police enforcement injuries using a retrospective design.

Design, Setting, and Participants — This population-based cohort analysis identified adults (age ≥16 years) who were injured by police and required emergency medical care between April 1, 2002, and March 31, 2022, in Ontario, Canada.

Exposure — Police shootings compared with other mechanisms of injury involving police.

Main Outcomes and Measures — Long-term healthcare costs determined using a validated costing algorithm. Secondary outcomes included short-term mortality, acute care treatments, and rates of subsequent disability.

Results — Over the study, 13 545 adults were injured from police enforcement (mean [SD] age, 35 [12] years; 11 637 males [86%]). A total of 13 520 individuals survived acute injury, and 8755 had long-term financial data available (88 surviving firearm injury, 8667 surviving nonfirearm injury). Patients surviving firearm injury had 3 times greater healthcare costs per year (CAD$16 223 vs CAD$5412; mean increase, CAD$9967; 95% CI, 6697-13 237; US $11 982 vs US $3997; mean increase, US $7361; 95% CI, 4946-9776; P < .001). Greater costs after a firearm injury were not explained by baseline costs and primarily reflected increased psychiatric care. Other characteristics associated with increased long-term healthcare costs included prior mental illness and a substance use diagnosis.

Conclusions and Relevance — In this longitudinal cohort study of long-term healthcare costs, patients surviving a police shooting had substantial healthcare costs compared with those injured from other forms of police enforcement. Costs primarily reflected psychiatric care and suggest the need to prioritize early recognition and prevention.



Raza S, Thiruchelvam D, Redelmeier DA. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6(9):e2335831. Epub 2023 Sep 28.

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