|December 10, 2008||Media contact: Katie Vloet
Death rates in hospital highest for infants, and uninsured children
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The vast majority of children who die while hospitalized are newborns, according to a new nationwide study. Additionally, death rates are higher for hospitalized children without insurance compared to those with insurance, the researchers found.
- A majority of the deaths were among newborns; in 2002, for example, nearly 69 percent were newborns. This reflects the fact that a majority of child hospitalizations are for newborns, the authors note.
- While the highest number of deaths was among newborns, the highest rate of mortality was among infants who were not newborns but were younger than 1 year old. In 2002, the death rate in that age group was 0.52 percent of hospitalized children, compared with an overall rate of 0.4 percent among all children.
- Among children without insurance, the mortality rate was 0.58 percent in 2002, compared with 0.45 percent of children on Medicaid, and 0.33 percent of children with private insurance.
- Children in all age groups had a higher mortality rate when they were transferred from another hospital, than if they died in the hospital that originally admitted them. For instance, in 2002, the rate among 1-5-year-olds was 1.33 percent for transferred children, compared with 0.27 percent of children who weren’t transferred. The gap was much greater among newborns: 4.75 percent compared with 0.36 percent.
- Insured children who died had significantly longer hospital stays compared with uninsured children who died. It was not clear from the data if this reflected differences in how long insurers allow patients to remain hospitalized, or the severity of the patients’ illnesses.