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Study: Simple skull fracture may not need overnight stay for kids

Does a simple head injury in a child mean that an overnight stay in the hospital is warranted? Not always, according to the lead investigator of a new study in a recent issue of the Journal of Pediatric Surgery. The researchers were from Ann & Robert Lurie Children's Hospital and the study took place over the course of 10 years.

Researchers analyzed the medical records for 71 children were treated during that period for simple head injuries. Of those 71 children, 78 percent were kept overnight in the hospital. None of them required more treatment and were sent home the following day. That night in the hospital cost another $4,291.

The researchers were quick to say that only children who had no sign of neurological damage and who had normal skull exams were part of the study. Those children that suffered from brain bleeding, loss of consciousness or other signs of a serious head injury were excluded.

A pediatric surgeon at the hospital said that keeping a child overnight can be traumatic for him or her and for the family. In addition, reducing the number of hospitalizations that are not necessary can help patients save money, as can the health care system in general.

The study's co-author believes that children who suffer a skull fracture and do not have additional symptoms "may be perfectly safe going home." It's important that children who may have been hurt due to child abuse or intentional injury stay overnight, though, according to the researchers.

If your child has suffered a head injury, you may have cause to seek compensation from whoever was responsible. An attorney who is experienced in handling child injury lawsuits can prove to be a beneficial ally.

Source: Physical Therapy Products, "Overnight Hospital Stays May Not Be Necessary in Kids with Simple Skull Fractures," March 24, 2016

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