Medical injuries among hospitalized children

Qual Saf Health Care. 2006 Jun;15(3):202-7. doi: 10.1136/qshc.2005.015412.


Background: Inpatient medical injuries among children are common and result in a longer stay in hospital and increased hospital charges. However, previous studies have used screening criteria that focus on inpatient occurrences only rather than on injuries that also occur in ambulatory or community settings leading to hospital admission.

Objective: To describe the incidence and outcomes of medical injuries among children hospitalized in Wisconsin using the Wisconsin Medical Injury Prevention Program (WMIPP) screening criteria.

Methods: Cross sectional analysis of discharge records of 318,785 children from 134 hospitals in Wisconsin between 2000 and 2002.

Results: The WMIPP criteria identified 3.4% of discharges as having one or more medical injuries: 1.5% due to medications, 1.3% to procedures, and 0.9% to devices, implants and grafts. After adjusting for the All Patient Refined-Diagnosis Related Groups disease category, illness severity, mortality risk, and clustering within hospitals, the mean length of stay (LOS) was a half day (12%) longer for patients with medical injuries than for those without injuries. The similarly adjusted mean total hospital charges were 1614 dollars (26%) higher for the group with medical injuries. Excess LOS and charges were greatest for injuries due to genitourinary devices/implants, vascular devices, and infections/inflammation after procedures.

Conclusions: This study reinforces previous national findings up to 2000 using Wisconsin data to the end of 2002. The results suggest that hospitals and pediatricians should focus clinical improvement on medications, procedures, and devices frequently associated with medical injuries and use medical injury surveillance to track medical injury rates in children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diagnosis-Related Groups
  • Female
  • Hospitals, General / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Iatrogenic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data
  • Prostheses and Implants / adverse effects
  • Radiation Injuries / epidemiology
  • Safety
  • United States
  • United States Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
  • Wisconsin / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*