BRADENTON, FL – The dining room at Shady Village Retirement Center was a hellish scene of twisted metal, blood, sinew, and mashed potatoes last week, as resident William Morrison, 87, lost control of his Hoverround™ and went careening into an occupied table.
Police and EMS were dispatched to respond, and were shocked at the chaos they arrived to find. Officer Patrick O’Sullivan was interviewed by GomerBlog:
“The driver was travelling at nearly 100 meters/hr and was unhelmeted and unrestrained when he evidently lost control of his vehicle while attempting to taste the butterscotch pudding. He took his eyes off his surroundings for only 20 seconds or so, and the resulting injuries and property damage were extensive.”
Paramedic Sally Marino described what she saw on the scene. “It looked like something out of a horror movie. I couldn’t tell what was glistening fat and what was lemon pie filling. The metal strewn about was a mess of walkers, canes, automotive parts from the Hoverround™, orthopedic hardware, and cutlery. And I haven’t even gotten started on the blood.”
A total of three patients were transported to Our Lady of The Uterine Prolapse Hospital (OLUPH) in Bradenton. Despite the fact that the three patients were taking a total of 9 anticoagulants and anti-platelet agents between them, only Morrison himself had significant injuries. “He was breathing and conscious upon our arrival. He was a bit tachycardic, with obvious wounds to his head and a deformity of his leg. He was transported in full spinal protocol after we started an IV.”
Emergency department staff at OLUPH discovered an open tib/fib fracture and a small sub-arachnoid hemorrhage. Morrison is currently stable and expected to recover.
Officer O’Sullivan was questioned about the increasing frequency of these power-chair accidents. “Injuries related to these vehicles are definitely on the rise. We have found that two distinct populations drive the power chairs. One cohort is the morbidly obese, who actually appear to be protected when a collision or accident occurs due to their ample padding and the fact that they are almost never ejected. Instead, these mega-fatties are more likely to be ‘wedged into’ the vehicle, and tend to require substantial extrication efforts. The elderly, who make up the other cohort, are at particularly high risk of injury. They are thrown from the vehicles much more easily, and are frequently on blood-thinner medications, which is a recipe for calamity.”
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been diligently working to improve safety features on power chairs given the recent rise in injuries. Newer generations of the Rascal™ and Hoverround™ will include a four-point safety harness and a roll-bar. NHTSA has also recommended helmets with face shields, particularly in anticoagulated patients. NHTSA researchers have recently teamed with NASCAR safety officials, and a 100% Velcro fire suit which fastens the driver to the upholstery is apparently in the works.