Motorcycles, through the eyes of a trauma surgeon

Local News

Trauma surgeons at University Hospital say it's not uncommon to treat motorcycle crash victims.

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — ​​​​​​​In every newscast Thursday, News 5 is raising awareness about motorcycle safety, and dangers.

Trauma surgeons at University Hospital say it’s not uncommon to treat motorcycle crash victims, with injuries ranging from severe burns, or road rash, to death.

Dr. Linda Ding, a trauma surgeon at University Hospital, tells News 5 the stories she’ll never forget are the ones that changed the way people once lived. The injuries that didn’t kill them, but left them in a state where they can no longer function as they always did.

“The most tragic cases we see are those that come in with traumatic brain injury..
Otherwise healthy, functional patients who now can, are in a coma or can no longer interact with the world,” said Dr. Ding.

Because of one wrong move on a motorcycle.


She said, “That’s the picture that I want to paint for anyone who wants to get on a motorcycle is that you may lose a limb, you may lose your ability to talk, and you may be paralyzed forever.”

Sometimes other vehicles are involved, but that’s not always the case.

“The majority of accidents involving motorcycles are actually single vehicle accidents. So they either veered off the road, either bad conditions on the road, or took a turn too fast,” Dr. ding told Cherish Lombard.

And that happens more than you might think.

“Every day. Multiple per day,” said Dr. Ding.

That’s just at University Hospital. In 2018, Dr. Ding says trauma surgeons treated 80 motorcycle crash victims at University Hospital. None of them died in their care. In 2017, 110 were treated and 2 died. Those numbers don’t include victims who died on scene, and never made it to the hospital.

Dr. Ding has an 8-month-old. Cherish Lombard asked her if she would ever want him to get on a  motorcycle when he’s older. Before she could even finish her question, Ding said, “Oh absolutely not. Absolutely not. It, the amount, number of miles we travel using motorcycles is only one to three percent of all the traveling that we do nationally. And yet the death and injuries attributed to motorcycles are much, much greater. And so it’s just not worth it.”

Dr. Ding says if you crash your motorcycle, you’re actually 26 times more likely to die than if you crash your car.

She believes wearing a helmet does help in some cases, depending on speed.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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