Health Canal reported on an interesting new research study that caught the eye on a Chicago brain injury lawyer at our firm. The research effort looked at the rates of hospital use by children with various conditions. What they found, perhaps unsurprisingly, is that children with neurological impairments had particularly high hospital rates. The research effort was led by experts from the University of Utah and Harvard Medical School.
The overall results indicate that a particularly high proportion of inpatient hospitalizations in the county are made up of children with neurological impairments. The total data examined include 25 million pediatric hospitalizations-those with brain condition accounted for 5.2 percent of all hospitalizations and 20 percent of all hospital charges. These figures are much higher than would be expected based solely on the total number of children facing these conditions.
The data was published in last month’s issue of PLoS Medicine. Four different years were analyzed in the effort (1997, 2000, 2003, and 2006). In total, 1.3 million hospitalizations were required for children with neurological impairments. Over those years, there was actually a proportionally increasing use of specialty hospitals by those with the impairments. The most common impairments for those hospitalized were cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
A limitation of the effort was that it only measured discharges (not individual patient data). That means that it is not possible to discover if the trend toward more hospitalization was caused by more usage of specialty services by children with these impairments or if there has been an overall increase in the number of children with the brain problems.
One expert familiar with the effort explained that the root of the problem may actually be advances in medical care. He noted, “In the United States, advances in care have led to improved survival of children with NI (neurological impairment), so we expected that children with NI would account for a significant proportion of hospital resources.”
The most fascinating aspect of the study, however, was the overall cost of these hospitalizations. Amazingly, nearly one third of all charges at these children’s hospitals were made to those children with conditions like cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Obviously in many cases families faced with these charges struggle to keep up. Even with insurance there are many demands placed on those caring for the injured children.
The need for prolonged and consisted medical care for those children suffering from brain impairments does not come as a surprise. The Illinois cerebral palsy attorneys at our firm, for example, are very familiar with the lifelong consequences that these problems have on the child. That is one reason why we work so hard to help Illinois cerebral palsy victims receive the resources they need to ensure that all future medical needs will be taken care of. It is sometimes impossible to know with certainty exactly what medical needs a child with cerebral palsy might need down the road. However, if the injury was caused by the misconduct of another it is entirely reasonable for the careless individual, organization, or insurance company to ensure that the child is taken care of in the aftermath of the a mistake.
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