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Cost of gun violence in Portland goes beyond the victim

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 1:44 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - The rise in gun violence in the Portland area has made us all keenly aware of the human cost of these crimes, but there are other costs we don’t talk about as much, like the incredible cost to treat injuries from gun violence, and the overall cost to the community.

“Penetrating trauma has now exceeded car wrecks as a leading cause of death,” said Dr. Martin Schreiber, Chief of the Trauma, Critical Care, and Acute Care Surgery Division at OHSU. “It’s one of the biggest health problems in the United States.”

According to OHSU, the hospital treated 126 patients for gunshot wounds in 2021, up significantly from 92 patients in 2019.  A report by the Government Accountability Office found each inpatient stay costs between $8,000 and $11,000.

A report by Everytown for Gun Safety goes even further in tallying up the costs of gun violence, estimating the U.S. spends $3.5 billion each year just on medical care related to gun violence, and American taxpayers pay on average $34.8 million per day for medical care, first responders, and criminal justice service associated with gun violence.

“It’s not just the one person, it’s also their family, their friends, and their whole community. It ripples out and it costs the whole community their sense of safety,” said Rachel Saslow, a volunteer for Moms Demand Action and a survivor of gun violence.