Broken skull bones and metal plates in the face for life – the consequences of driving an electric scooter while intoxicated

Broken skull bones and metal plates in the face for life – the consequences of driving an electric scooter while intoxicated
Broken skull bones and metal plates in the face for life – the consequences of driving an electric scooter while intoxicated
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From 2021 to 2023, a total of 410 people with various head and face injuries following electric scooter accidents were treated at Stradiņa Hospital, of which open head wounds were found in 220 cases, mandibular fractures in 71 cases, cheekbone and maxilla fractures in 58 cases, and in 46 cases the victims had broken nasal bones, according to the data collected by Edgars Freimanis, medical assistant of the trauma center of NMC Facial and Jaw Surgery of Stradiņa Hospital1.

“Our observations allow us to conclude that the typical victim of e-scooter accidents is a young man under the influence of alcohol, moreover, accidents occur more often at night. The largest number of victims is in the age group from 20 to 23 years old, but there are also quite a lot of patients aged from 23 to 38 years old, and the oldest patient was 66 years old. One of the most frequent causes of accidents is driving under the influence of alcohol – a third of the victims have admitted that they have driven under the influence, but in reality this number could be even higher, as there is no data related to alcohol consumption for 40% of patients,” explains E. Freimanis. He emphasizes that almost all the victims were driving without protective equipment, and during these three years, only one patient was recorded who was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

The treatment of one victim costs the state up to 5,000 euros

Anna Ivanova, head of the Oral, Facial and Maxillofacial Surgery Center, states that victims of electric scooter accidents most often suffer complex injuries – in the mildest cases they are only abrasions and bruises, but the most severe are head injuries, the treatment of which not only takes a long time, but also causes high costs, both both for the state budget and for the patient himself.

“For fractures of the facial bones, osteosynthesis is performed, or the joining of bones with metal mini or microplates, which most often remain in the human body for life. The cost of osteosynthesis surgery materials is 3,000 to 5,000 euros, which is covered by the state budget. However, facial injuries most often also include dental injuries, the treatment of which the patient has to cover out of his own pocket. Treatment of such injuries in the hospital can last up to three weeks, but most often after that, patients continue to be treated in outpatient clinics and dental clinics for up to a year,” says A. Ivanova.

Transporting a child on an electric scooter can end tragically

Cases involving children in e-scooter accidents are particularly worrying. Although most often children end up in the Children’s Clinical University Hospital after accidents, 30 children under the age of 18 have been treated in the Oral, Facial and Maxillofacial Surgery Center of Stradiņa Hospital over the course of three years, with injuries ranging from facial abrasions to jawbone fractures.

dr. Ivanova emphasizes that the most potentially dangerous thing is to take the child as a passenger standing on the electric scooter between the steering wheel and the driver: “If an emergency situation occurs while driving like this, the scooter driver falls forward and presses the child with all his weight to the steering wheel, which is often the child’s at face height. That way, the child can get really terrible injuries.”

When you see such cases, when a child is being transported on a scooter as a passenger, the State Police urges you to report it by calling 110. If riders travel with a “Bolt” rental scooter, they can report to the “Bolt” company, which in such cases can identify the user and limit its access to the app.

With the aim of reducing the number of violations and injuries caused by e-scooter drivers, the State Police together with Stradiņa Hospital and “Bolt” are implementing the informational campaign “The fastest way to get to the hospital”. With campaign materials in the media, social networks and in the urban environment, the State Police and its partners inform about accident and injury statistics, typical accidents and injuries, as well as share real stories of the victims’ experiences, thus clearly demonstrating that aggressive driving while intoxicated and breaking the rules is the fastest way, how to get to the hospital. The campaign is financed from the funds of the Latvian Vehicle Insurers Office.

1 Edgars Freimanis, Research Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Latvia OPINION no. 19-25/14, research paper: Facial and jaw injuries resulting from e-scooter use, 2024.

The article is in Latvian

Tags: Broken skull bones metal plates face life consequences driving electric scooter intoxicated

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