Death and ATV’s

Sorry for the recent absence, but I’m back now. And what better way to get back into gear after being on vacation than to work Memorial Day Weekend! I should have my head examined.

ATV – All Terrain Vehicles, or as I like to call them, four-wheeled death machines. I hate ATV’s and wish they would be banned. I have seen too many tragic consequences from them and think the risk-fun ratio is just way too high. I like to have fun as much as the next person, but when people start dying, we need to take a time out and reassess. My first bad patient experience was my first year out of residency when the respiratory therapist that i work with brought her son in DOA (Dead on Arrival) after he was riding behind his brother who hit a tree. Unfortunately no helmets were worn. This weekend though brought on more sadness.

23 year old woman, drunk, riding an ATV at night runs into a barbed wire line at speed. The wire cut into her belly, removed the right kidney from its blood supply (a big hose), lacerated her liver and spleen and cut some intestine. She went immediately to surgery and bled to death on the table.

30 year old woman, majorly drunk, riding an ATV in daylight and rolls it in a field. She suffers multiple spine fractures, lacerated spleen and liver as well and dislocates her hip. Ouch! She survives surgery, but quality of life after this accident will be questionable. She will have pain everyday for the rest of her life I imagine.

Please, if you read this post and either ride an ATV or know someone that does, make sure they always wear a helmet and that they don’t drive after even one drink. If you can send the whole thing to a junk heap to be crushed that would be even better. You can have fun in far safer ways. Have a safe weekend please.

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11 Responses to Death and ATV’s

  1. Dr. Grumpy says:

    Agree with you so much on this one. I see boatloads of sad, irreversible neurological injuries from these things. Always young people.

  2. Sapphire says:

    Driving a car can be dangerous too but you don’t see most people wanting to ban the car. Millions of people are maimed for life and die in car accidents every year. I think ATVs can be driven safely but the sad cases you mention were down to people being careless and drunk. The same tragedies happen with people and boats. Too many young macho guys drown with boating and drinking. People shouldn’t operate any machinery if they have been drinking.

    • ER Doc says:

      Hi Sapphire – You’re right about cars, but I believe the rate of accidents with ATV’s is significantly higher per usage. The other issue is that cars have mandatory safety features which ATV’s don’t. I agree that they can be safe when operated responsibly, but with so many tragic outcomes (and there is a big chunk that do NOT involve alcohol by the way), I wish something would be done. My personal effort is to encourage safe operation and the use of helmets and appropriate safety equipment.

  3. Tunde says:

    I believe if you use these recreational vehicles with sense and responsibility, it would be much safer. Mixing alcohol or drug while using anything ,can be a prescription for tragedy.

    I had seen so many senseless injuries in ER by different type of recreational vehicle and almost all was involved with drug or alcohol.

    Dirt bike, ATV , speed boat, air boat and the list can go on and on. I tried almost all of these vehicles and i never ever had any problems. All these can be safe if we are responsible, but as you mentioned both of your cases were not. Too bad, giving a bad name for something b/c people are stupid.

    • Jude says:

      Are you still skydiving, or you dropped it? (that doesn’t sound too funny, sorry)

      • ER Doc says:

        I’ve never been skydiving, but if I did go for it, I would do it sober and during daylight hours … and avoid coming down over power lines.

      • Tunde says:

        No Jude, I “dropped it” years ago for obvious reasons .

  4. Chad says:

    You’ve made a better case for banning alcohol and we know how that turned out.

  5. Jude says:

    I had worked on several of these cases and almost all will have lifelong neurological deficits. Sad, that carelessness can cause a lifetime of misery.

  6. Sabra says:

    See, the problem with ATVs is that they’re really not fun unless you’re drunk.

    When I was a child, my dad–of course, drunk–decided to take me on an ATV ride. In a drainage ditch. In the dark. Thank God, the only casualty was my glasses, but thereafter I refused to ever get on another one.

  7. Carol says:

    Alcohol and most things motorized don’t mix.

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