Originally published on KevinMD
I walk out my front door today to do my obligatory walk around the block with my pups.
Two police cars with blue lights flashing, lead a caravan of over 100 motorcyclists to a funeral for one of their fallen brothers. They revved up their motors in the procession, I guess, as a sign of love, of brotherhood, of kindred spirits in the motorcycle world.
I choked up. I was ready to cry. It reminded me of that 23-year-old male I once had while I worked surgical-trauma ICU.
A young man riding his motorcycle with no helmet, no protection, flying freely down the highway. Superman. “I’m going to live forever.” Not a care in the world with angel dust (PCP) in his system. Feelings of freedom and forgetting any troubles.
No troubles — until it happened. He crossed the line. Killed an innocent man in a car — a deadly collision.
He came to us from the emergency department. He was paralyzed from the neck down and on the ventilator with chest tubes, fractures to legs, ribs, arms — eyes wide open. But he couldn’t blink. He couldn’t track, his pupils were irregular.
His poor mother called me every morning at 6 a.m. with a crackle in her voice.
A motherly voice of sad surrender.
“Is he any better?” she would ask.
And sadly, I would have to tell her no. He wasn’t better; he was worse.
Eventually, a conference was called with the intensive care trauma team physicians and the mother. We would withdraw life support.
And that was it.
Maybe he would have been saved had he not done drugs. Maybe he would have been saved if he had a helmet on.
An emergency department physician once gave us ED and ICU trauma nurses a seminar. I’ll never forget.
Don’t wear your helmet — then make sure you register as an organ donor.
In the U.S. 19 states do not require a motorcycle helmet.
Motorcycle helmets reduce the rate of head injuries by 69 percent and reduce the risk of death by 42 percent.
According to the CDC, close to 2000 lives were saved due to helmet wearing in 2016.
The blue lights passed by me. His buddies of over 100 in single file, revving their motors … and not one with a helmet.