Do Wounded Criminals Avoid Hospitals?: A Comment on May Et Al.
9 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2016 Last revised: 12 Feb 2018
Date Written: January 16, 2018
A survey of inmates in five jails done by John P. May, David Hemenway, and A Hall (2002) indicated that, among those who admitted to having been shot, 91% (277 of 307) reported having gone to the hospital for treatment. This comment explains in detail why this finding cannot be taken seriously, but the short explanation is simply that the exact same reasons criminals would have for not seeking medical care for nonlife-threatening gunshot wounds would also be reasons for them to either (a) not report gunshot wounding incidents to survey interviewers, or (b) admit to the wounding, but falsely claim that they had sought medical care. The implication is that nonfatal gunshot woundings are seriously underestimated, and that the fatality rate of gunshot woundings is overstated.
Keywords: gunshot wounds, medical treatment
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