Tag Archives: deaths

Researchers and organizations addressing prevention of gun suicides as they surge

Photo by Eduardo Vázquez’s via Unsplash.com.

Recent CDC data has revealed that roughly half of suicides nationwide are by firearms. Forty percent of respondents from a Pew Research Center June 2021 survey said they lived in a household that had guns; 30% said they owned a gun.

During a pandemic where a record number of Americans reported heightened suicidal ideation and other severe mental stress, those data are significant, at least in part, because gun sales have also surged during the past couple of years. 

A glance at research

Gun ownership heightens risks of suicide by firearm, a series of studies over the years have concluded. Among the largest and most recent of them is a Stanford University study published in June 2020 in the New England Journal of Medicine. It concluded that men who owned guns were eight times more likely to die than men who didn’t of a self-inflicted gunshot and that the rate of suicide by firearm among women who owned hand guns was 35 times the rate of women who didn’t. Tracking risks from day one of a gun purchase, the analysis examined 26 million Californians across 12 years ending in 2016.

A commentary by a Boston emergency room physician published in the JAMA Network Open cited a 59% increase in firearm suicides by teens between 2010 and 2019, outpacing a 29% spike in other forms of suicide during that period. Teen males used a firearm 51% of the time and teen females 25% of the time.

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New York AG finds COVID-19 nursing home deaths vastly underreported

Photo: Zeev Barkan via Flickr

Deaths among nursing home residents in New York state have been underreported by as much as 50%, according to a new report from New York State Attorney General Letitia James. James has been investigating nursing homes’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic since March following allegations of patient neglect and other concerning conduct that may have jeopardized the health and safety of residents and facility employees throughout the state.

Among the report’s findings: many more nursing home residents died from COVID-19 than was reflected in data published by the New York State Department of Health (DOH). Continue reading

How COVID-19 may affect death rates not from the coronavirus

NonCovidDeaths_Blog

Photo: Dennis Jarvis via Flickr

As many hospitals have struggled with a deluge of COVID-19 patients, which at times has prompted patients with other severe conditions to avoid hospitals if they feel they can, there’s a fear that non-COVID deaths will increase during the pandemic. A recent paper in BMJ looks at what the data so far suggests while noting we don’t know enough yet to draw conclusions. Continue reading

Weaving data, human stories into compelling series on dental deaths

Brooks Egerton

Brooks Egerton

In early 2014, a 4-year-old Dallas boy named Salomon Barahona Jr. died after undergoing sedation for a dental procedure.

The child’s death spurred Dallas Morning News reporter Brooks Egerton to embark upon what turned out to be a major reporting project – an 18-month investigation of dental safety in the United States.

Egerton sifted through thousands of records detailing patient harm and endangerment drawn from many sources: state and federal regulators, police, coroners, academic researchers, courts, litigators, insurers, dental schools and dentists themselves. Continue reading

Project offers guide on access to autopsy records

The Marion Brechner Citizen Access Project at the University of Florida College of Communications has posted an online guide to access to autopsy records, which are not open records in about half the states and the District of Columbia, according to Ana-Klara Anderson, J.D., Ph.D.autopsy-description-sheet

Where the records are public, they are mired in exemptions that limit public access. Anderson, writing for Quill, the magazine of the Society of Professional Journalists, points out that autopsy records are important for reporting on public health and safety issues as well as crime and other issues.

Anderson, a former researcher for the Marion Brechner Citizen Access Project and a member of the SPJ Freedom of Information Committee, provides more details about exemptions and case law on the subject.