WhiteCoat

No LOL Matter

It’s sad when you hear about deaths due to texting while driving. Dr. Frank Ryan recently drove off a California cliff while reportedly making a Twitter post about his dog.

We recently had a 22 year old patient come in from a bad motorcycle accident. Road rash all over the place. Wasn’t wearing a helmet. As we began to examine him, it became evident that he had a spinal cord injury. He had priapism and reduced rectal tone. His legs weren’t moving. MRI showed a T6-T7 injury.

It was even more sad learning how the injury occurred. He told the paramedics that he was riding his motorcycle at a high rate of speed using one hand to steer and using the other hand to talk on his cell phone. On a speeding motorcycle. He was making plans to meet a friend that evening to go out to the bars and “get some.” The only thing he “got” was a lot of IV medications, a neurosurgical consultation, and a hospital bed.

Now he’s forever more likely to “get a lot less” due to a lapse in judgment.

Is answering that message from your BFF this instant really worth the thought of dying … or of sitting in a wheelchair the rest of your life?

Don’t text and drive.

UPDATE AUGUST 28, 2010
The day after my original post and one of my first patients of the shift last night was a 21 year old young lady who gashed her head open when she was driving down the street at 40 mph and she hit a parked car … while she was texting.
The 22 year old didn’t think the wheelchair would happen to him. This patient didn’t think the crash would happen to her. No one gets behind the wheel and expects to get into a major car accident.
Someone just told me about Oprah’s campaign about texting and driving. Read about it.
It’s not a question of IF something bad will happen to you, only WHEN it will happen to you.
Don’t text and drive.

ALSO see this article over at GruntDoc’s site. Definitely worth the read.

18 Responses to “No LOL Matter”

  1. I heard a report recently that just talking on a cellphone while driving impairs you as much as having a couple beers on-board.

    That doesn’t surprise me, and should be better known.

  2. Marilyn says:

    Very sad that people don’t realize it could happen to them.

    They also don’t consider that their stupidity does not only affect themselves, but that they could take out a whole lot of innocent “bystanders”.

  3. GrumpyRN says:

    Not sad, stupid. Natural selection in action. In UK it is illegal to drive and use a mobile phone (cell phone) since 2003. Police are very strict on this but you still see f**kwits driving while using phones. Unfortunately it is only a £60($93) fine and 3 points on your driving licence if caught – 12 total is an automatic ban. You can be jailed if you cause an accident with injury or death.
    Steve, research reported in The Times – http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/driving/news/article4776063.ece

    • Marilyn says:

      Not sad, stupid

      Yeah, that’s kinda what I meant. Sad that there is so much stupidity still out there. ;-)

      Where I live it is also illegal, minimum fine is $142 USD. Doesn’t seem to be stopping people from thinking they are “special” and can get away with it “just this once for just a minute…”

      I’m in favor of mandatory jail time. Should be the same penalties as drunk driving.

  4. Ed says:

    I absolutely agree, it should not only be illegal, there should be jail time.

    But not just for cell phones, we need to ban eating while driving, drinking sodas and such, using the radio, and conversations with passengers.

    You might think that statistics show a sudden surge in auto accidents following the introduction of cell phones. In actuality they have been steadily declining.

    • Marilyn says:

      Not to mention putting on makeup, reading your sales-call list, reading the map spread out over your steering wheel…

      My cousin was killed in a terrible vehicle collision because of a dude who was fishing under his seat for a CD, then drifted over the center line on the highway. Her poor dad had to identify his beautiful daughter, and he could only tell it was her by her clothes. She left behind a 4-year old daughter.

      No one should have to face that. Accidents happen, but this was no accident.

      Jail time for sure.

  5. SeaSpray says:

    I am sorry to hear those things happened.

    This is frightening. Do you ever just watch how many people are talking on phones when they drive and texting is mind boggling to me. I find myself feeling mad at all of them when I see it.

    I have done the lipstick thing though and fish for something, or drink, eat and fidget with music.

    I even did mascara and eyeliner. I know. Shame on me ..guilty as charged. BUT ..*I do not do it now*. Well radio and drink something ..I still do. The phone thing very briefly. never texted in car.

    people think they are safer using head sets, but they are not. the brain can only handle so much and so peripheral vision is reduced when driving ..which means you could take out a person or something on side of road because your brain had to focus on the conversation and driving.

    I don’t know how that contrasts to talking with someone in the car and driving. Anyone know? Or listening to radio talk shows or music? I hope those things are at least safer.

    Oprah has been running an excellent campaign against driving and using cell phones/texting.

    Everyone should check this out and refer others to the site:

    http://www.oprah.com/packages/no-phone-zone.html

    The thing about accidents ..no one ever *plans* to have an accident. they happen unexpectedly and often could be avoided had there been forethought.

    I don’t know how many times I heard a patient in the ED say *after the fact* that they feel so stupid for the accident that occurred. From mva’s to slicing their hand while cutting a bagel ..or not wearing a helmet, etc.

    I think I heard the stat that texting while driving is 23 times worse then drunk driving. Now most people are careful to have a designated driver if there is alcohol involved. But ..WHY don’t they understand the dangers of cellphone use while driving …ESPECIALLY texting??!

  6. This is going to make me sound like an *ss, but what else is new.

    I am getting sick of the motorcycles accidents. They are never easy. The are difficult to deal with and require tons of resources. And you see them on the highway driving like crazy in and out of lanes and cars at blazing speeds. They act like they are invincible. I just don’t feel sorry for them any more. Especially if they are drinking. If I see one wreck on the highway I will keep driving.

    ER Doc

    • Jules says:

      I don’t think that makes you sound like an ass at all. You have the right to your opinion and I think it’s justified.

    • Kipper says:

      The problem is that the riders who wreck aren’t exclusively the idiots. Black Nail Brigade (http://www.blacknailbrigade.org/) was founded in memory of a responsible rider killed by a driver who was putting on nail polish in her vehicle.

      There were a few high profile cases in my general region of distracted drivers killing pedestrians in the crosswalk. Personally I now always look for an upright, engaged driver’s face before entering a crosswalk near a moving vehicle. However I wouldn’t hold someone at fault who chose to use the crosswalk without second-guessing the surrounding drivers’ ability to drive properly. I kind of feel the same way about responsible motorcyclists: they are following the law in a legally permissible vehicle, I’m certainly not going to hold them responsible for getting hit.

  7. Roberto says:

    I think we should put more of our tax dollars on research to find cures for these people, to find miracle drugs that reconnect their neurones and nerves and to really push the envelop of biomedical research at the service of citizens like him who love freedom (freedom to text and chit-chat while driving) and who would certainly feel their rights infringed if not allowed to do so. This is the only freedom worth preserving in the USA Patriot Act era.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Gene pool pruning at work. I don’t care if someone kills or paralyzes themselves because they were being stupid. But if they hurt someone else it should be a 10x penalty.

  9. RSDS says:

    I do not even know how to text on my cell phone.

  10. Matt says:

    Compared to what this woman was accomplishing behind the wheel, texting seems downright safe:

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/bizarre/woman-nabbed-auto-erotic-crime

  11. DefendUSA says:

    I am going to forward this to my daughter. I have caught her many times texting and driving and I do check her bill.
    In MI, where she is attending school and (and marching the Block M!!) they fine you left and right. So, thankfully, it is going way down.

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