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Local ER doctor concerned after seeing spike in traumatic injuries, specifically from e-scooters

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 6:46 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The emergency room at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids is seeing an uptick in traumatic-type injuries recently, and specifically related to more of the e-scooters available in the city.

“Just with COVID being over, people are getting out and doing their normal activities,” Dr. Matthew Aucutt, Mercy Medical Center’s emergency department medical director, said.

Aucutt said common activities, like bicycling and riding all-terrain vehicles are the cause for the recent increase in patients coming into the ER.

“Our trauma volume tends to go up in the Summer months,” Aucutt said. “I think the last couple of years, we’ve seen an uptick in bicyclists, and sometimes alcohol is related.”

The bulk of injuries range from minor to critical, including broken bones and serious head injuries. Now with the e-scooters in the city, especially downtown, that’s adding another layer of people who could get into a crash.

“We’re definitely surprised. We’re seeing a very large increase in scooter injuries, and we never used to see scooter injuries ever. Now, we’re seeing them every week, and it seems like there’s a lot of people getting out on those that are inexperienced,” Aucutt said.

Aside from that, Aucutt added that alcohol and the lack of safety equipment being worn on the scooters or during other activities lead to more situations of life-threatening injuries.

“We’re just starting to collect the data on those types of injuries since it’s a new phenomenon that we’re seeing, so we’re going to collect information and try to use it just for public education and safety,” Aucutt said.

In the meantime, Aucutt says people need to take safety seriously, including getting training before taking off on a scooter, especially for a new rider.

“People should definitely wear protective equipment. That can be the difference between a minor injury and a life-threatening injury,” Aucutt said. “Also, don’t drink alcohol if you’re going to be operating a scooter or bicycle.”

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