Geographic and temporal patterns of recurrent intentional injury in south-central Los Angeles

J Natl Med Assoc. 1996 Sep;88(9):570-2.


To better understand geographic and temporal patterns of recurrent intentional injury, 285 consecutive trauma patients were evaluated prospectively. Fifteen were excluded because of immediate death or severe brain injury. The remaining 270 patients were interviewed. Of these, 59 (22%) had been treated in a hospital for a total of 75 previous episodes of intentional trauma (mean: 1.3 episodes/patient). In 66 of the 75 episodes, the patient recalled where treatment had been received (88%). Twenty-eight (42%) of the 66 episodes had been treated at King/Drew Medical Center (KDMC), 36 (55%) had been treated at a hospital within a 3-mile radius of KDMC, 48 (73%) within an 8-mile radius, and 63 (95%) within a 10-mile radius. Sixty-five percent of the episodes occurred 5 years or less prior to the current injury (range: 11 days to 30 years; mean: 4.9 years). Patients currently admitted for intentional injury were more likely to have had intentional injury previously than those with unintentional injury (27% versus 12%). Based on these findings, we conclude that intentional trauma patients in our community remain in a defined geographic region and that there is a definable high-risk period for recurrent intentional injury. These conclusions should enhance the development of a framework on which future violence prevention programs can be designed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Data Collection
  • Humans
  • Los Angeles / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality