30th August 2019, Volume 132 Number 1501

Jacob Munro, Paul Monk, Alex Campbell, Nicole Wong, Zaid Bahho

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…

Subscriber content

The full contents of this page is only available to subscribers.

To view this content please login or subscribe

Summary

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.

Abstract

Aim

To highlight the growing cost of electric-scooter (e-scooter) related injuries necessitating surgical intervention by the Auckland City Hospital Orthopaedic Department.

Method

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.

Results

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.

Conclusion

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.

Author Information

Alex Campbell, Orthopaedic Registrar, Auckland City Hospital, Auckland; 
Nicole Wong, House Officer, Auckland City Hospital, Auckland; 
Paul Monk, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and Lecturer, University of Auckland, Auckland;
Jacob Munro, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and Lecturer, University of Auckland, Auckland;
Zaid Bahho, Senior Orthopaedic Registrar, Auckland City Hospital, Auckland.

Acknowledgements

The study authors acknowledge the Auckland City Orthopaedic Department and Dene Coleman, Business Manager Surgical Directorate, for help with this study.

Correspondence

Dr Alex Campbell, Orthopaedic Registrar, Auckland City Hospital.

Correspondence Email

acam106@aucklanduni.ac.nz

Competing Interests

Nil.

References

  1. Lazo L. Lime scooters: All the answers one needs for the latest transportation trend. New Zealand Herald. 11 November 2018. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12158283 Accessed 28 May 2019.
  2. Lockup at 40kmh: More terrifying Lime scooter stories. Otago Daily Times. 28 May 2019. http://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/lockup-40kmh-more-terrifying-lime-scooter-stories Accessed 28 May 2019. 
  3. Dougan P. E-scooter ACC claims fall off. Otago Daily Times. 27 February 2019. http://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/e-scooter-acc-claims-fall Accessed 28 April 2019. 
  4. Baker SP, O’Neill B, Haddon Jr W, Long WB. The injury severity score: a method for describing patients with multiple injuries and evaluating emergency care. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. 1974; 14:187–196.
  5. Statistics NZ. Labour Market Statistics: June 2017 Quarter. http://www.stats.govt.nz/information-releases/labour-market-statistics-june-2017-quarter Accessed 14 December 2018. 
  6. Boniface K, McKay MP, Lucas R, et al. Serious injuries related to the Segway® personal transporter: a case series. Ann Emerg Med. 2011; 57:370–4.
  7. Du W, Yang J, Powis B, et al. Epidemiological profile of hospitalised injuries among electric bicycle riders admitted to a rural hospital in Suzhou: a cross-sectional study. Inj Prev. 2014; 20:128–33.
  8. Weingart GS, Glueckert L, Cachaper GA, et al. Injuries associated with hoverboard use: a case series of emergency department patients. West J Med. 2017; 18:993. 
  9. Trivedi TK, Liu C, Antonio AL, Wheaton N, Kreger V, Yap A, Schriger D, Elmore JG. Injuries associated with standing electric scooter use. JAMA Netw Open. 2019; 2:e187381.
  10. Siman-Tov M, Radomislensky I, Israel Trauma Group, Peleg K. The casualties from electric bike and motorized scooter road accidents. Traffic Inj Prev. 2017; 18:318–23. 
  11. Holley P. Fatal e-scooter accident emerges just as California legalizes riding without a helmet. The Washington Post. 20 September 2018. http://www.mercurynews.com/2018/09/20/fatal-e-scooter-accident-emerges-just-as-california-legalizes-riding-without-a-helmet/ Accessed 21 December 2018. 

Download

The downloadable PDF version of this article is only available to subscribers.

To view this content please login or subscribe