E-scooters have become a popular mode of transport, particularly since the release of Lime e-scooters in Auckland and Christchurch. They are electric scooters that allow speeds of up to 27km/h…
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Electric scooters are a popular mode of transport for short-distance travel, particularly within the city. The orthopaedic department at Auckland City Hospital is seeing increasing numbers of injuries as a re-sult of their use that require operations. These injuries seen are often high-energy sorts of injuries usually seen in motor-vehicle accidents or falls from great heights. These injuries are adding to waiting times for other acute operations and represent a significant period of recovery and time off work.
To highlight the growing cost of electric-scooter (e-scooter) related injuries necessitating surgical intervention by the Auckland City Hospital Orthopaedic Department.
Retrospective audit of operations by the Auckland City Hospital Orthopaedic Department from 15 October 2018 up to and inclusive of 22 February 2019. Inclusion criteria was that the direct cause of injury necessitating surgery was secondary to an e-scooter accident. Further demographic data was collected including injury sustained and operation details. The surgical costs were calculated, including anaesthetic time, surgical time, staffing, implants used and inpatient stay as well as clinic follow-up.
Over the 19-week period of this study there were 21 patients requiring 23 operations as a direct result of e-scooters. The summative anaesthetic, theatre suite and staffing costs of these operations was $162,901. Implants required to fix the fractures totalled $39,898. Ninety-three inpatient nights and 61 follow-up clinic appointments were required incurring an additional expense of $141,639 and $16,119 respectively. Overall, these 23 cases cost a total of $360,557. The extrapolated loss of income was $44,368 secondary to these injuries. This represents a total economic cost of $404,925, or $19,282 per person.
This study highlights that there can be serious consequences of e-scooter travel. High energy trauma not previously associated with scooter injuries is becoming increasingly prevalent as a result of readily available e-scooters. Many of the injuries identified represent significant morbidity to patients in terms of pain, lengthy rehabilitation and loss of income. Furthermore, the socioeconomic costs for DHBs continues to climb and adds to the acute surgical burden in an already busy healthcare system. The hazards of e-scooters should not be underestimated by both the general public and policy-makers.