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The e-merging e-pidemic of e-scooters
  1. Leslie M Kobayashi1,
  2. Elliot Williams1,
  3. Carlos V Brown2,
  4. Brent J Emigh2,
  5. Vishal Bansal3,
  6. Jayraan Badiee3,
  7. Kyle D Checchi3,
  8. Edward M Castillo4,
  9. Jay Doucet1
  1. 1 Department of Surgery, University of California San Diego Health System, San Diego, California, USA
  2. 2 Dell Seton Medical Center, Austin, Texas, USA
  3. 3 Scripps Mercy Hospital, San Diego, California, USA
  4. 4 Emergency Medicine, University of California San Diego, San Diego, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Leslie M Kobayashi, General Surgery, University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA 92103, USA; lkobayashi{at}ucsd.edu

Abstract

Introduction Since their release in 2017, standing electric motorized scooters (eScooters) have risen in popularity as an alternative mode of transportation. We sought to examine the incidence of injury, injury patterns, prevalence of helmet and drug and alcohol use in eScooter trauma.

Methods This was a multi-institutional retrospective case series of patients admitted for injuries related to operation of an eScooter following the widespread release of these devices in September 2017 (September 1, 2017 to October 31, 2018). Demographics, drug and alcohol use, helmet use, admission vitals, injuries, procedures, hospital and intensive care unit length of stay (LOS), death, and disposition were analyzed.

Results 103 patients were admitted during the study period, and monthly admissions increased significantly over time. Patients were young men (mean age 37.1 years; 65% male), 98% were not wearing a helmet. Median LOS was 1 day (IQR 1–3). 79% of patients were tested for alcohol and 48% had a blood alcohol level >80 mg/dL. 60% of patients had a urine toxicology screen, of which 52% were positive. Extremity fractures were the most frequent injury (42%), followed by facial fractures (26%) and intracranial hemorrhage (18%). Median Injury Severity Score was 5.5 (IQR 5–9). One-third of patients (n=34) required an operative intervention, the majority of which were open fixations of extremity and facial fractures. No patients died during the study. The majority of patients were discharged home (86%).

Conclusion eScooter-related trauma has significantly increased over time. Alcohol and illicit substance use among these patients was common, and helmet use was extremely rare. Significant injuries including intracranial hemorrhage and fractures requiring operative intervention were present in over half (51%) of patients. Interventions aimed at increasing helmet use and discouraging eScooter operation while intoxicated are necessary to reduce the burden of eScooter-related trauma.

Level of evidence Level IV.

  • accidents
  • alcohol and trauma
  • head injury
  • fractures

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

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Footnotes

  • Contributors LMK, EW, CVB, VB, EMC and JD conceived the study, created the study design, performed the analysis and interpretation, authored and revised the manuscript. BJE, KDC and JB all contributed to data acquisition.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article.

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