Mechanisms of Self-Inflicted Injuries at an Urban City Hospital

Steven L. Veselsky, Marie Veronique Poirier, Brett M. Tracy, Christine A. Castater, Christina Mehta, Adair K. Minihan, Keneeshia N. Williams, Rondi B. Gelbard, Abimbola O. Faloye, Randi N. Smith*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Suicide is a major public health issue with root causes including psychological, economical, and societal factors. Methods: Retrospective review identified self-inflicted traumatic injuries (SITIs) at Grady Health System between 2009 and 2017. Patients were categorized by penetrating or blunt mechanism of injury (MOI). Outcomes included hospital length of stay (HLOS) and ventilator duration, mortality, and location of death. Results: 678 patients in total were identified. Penetrating MOI was most prevalent (n = 474). Patients with a blunt MOI were significantly younger (32 Y vs. 37 Y; P <.0001). Psychiatric illness was equally common between MOI at more than 50%. Penetrating traumas required longer ventilator times (1 D vs. 0 D; P <.0001) but shorter overall HLOS (4 D vs. 6 D; P =.0013). Mortality was twice as high in the penetrating group (29.8% vs. 11.8%; P <.0001). Conclusion: Self-inflicted traumatic injuries occurred most often among younger adults and those with history of psychiatric illness. Penetrating traumas result in worse outcomes. Self-inflicted traumatic injuries carry high morbidity and mortality. Improved prevention strategies targeting high-risk groups are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1669-1674
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • injury
  • self-harm
  • self-inflicted
  • suicide
  • trauma


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