Teenager, 18, faces $150,000 bill over brain injury she suffered in US electric scooter accident

A British teenager faces a £118,000 medical bill over a brain injury she suffered after falling from an electric scooter while on holiday in the U.S.

Karmen Curley, 18, from Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, was visiting her sister Sian, in Los Angeles, when she suffered the horrific injury after hitting a pothole.

Karmen, who forgot to buy travel insurance, remains in intensive care in the US and her sister is desperately trying to raise more than $150,000 to pay for her treatment. 

Karmen’s sister Sian told DailyMail.com that Karmen was riding a scooter made by the company, Bird.

British teenager Karmen Curley, 18, faces a £118,000 medical bill over a brain injury she suffered after falling from an electric scooter while on holiday in the US. Above: Karmen at UCLA Hospital in Los Angeles

British teenager Karmen Curley, 18, faces a £118,000 medical bill over a brain injury she suffered after falling from an electric scooter while on holiday in the US. Above: Karmen at UCLA Hospital in Los Angeles

British teenager Karmen Curley, 18, faces a £118,000 medical bill over a brain injury she suffered after falling from an electric scooter while on holiday in the US. Above: Karmen at UCLA Hospital in Los Angeles

The teenager’s accident comes amid controversy over the safety of electric scooters in the U.S. and other countries following several deaths and serious injuries. 

The Associated Press estimates there have been at least 11 electric scooter rider deaths in the U.S. since the beginning of 2018 – nine of those were on rented scooters.  A study by watchdog Consumer Reports in February said there had been at least 1,545 scooter-related accidents in the U.S. since 2017.

Karmen Curley is being treated at Los Angeles’s UCLA Hospital and Sian told the Belfast Telegraph she is at her ‘wit’s end’ because of the spiralling cost.

Sian, who is studying in America for a year, said Karmen came to the U.S. to join her on a road trip from San Francisco to Las Vegas.   

But Karmen was seriously injured when she fell and hit her head after hitting a pothole while the pair were using electric scooters which they had rented.  

Bird, the alleged maker of the scooter, ridden by Karmen, was a strong proponent of a 2018 change in the law in California which removed the legal requirement for scooter riders to wear helmets. 

Sian (pictured left with Karmen) discovered the cost for Karmen to be treated in the intensive care unit was more than £11,000 per day ($15,000)

Sian (pictured left with Karmen) discovered the cost for Karmen to be treated in the intensive care unit was more than £11,000 per day ($15,000)

Sian (pictured left with Karmen) discovered the cost for Karmen to be treated in the intensive care unit was more than £11,000 per day ($15,000)

Karmen's sister Sian told DailyMail.com that Karmen was riding a scooter made by the company, Bird

Karmen's sister Sian told DailyMail.com that Karmen was riding a scooter made by the company, Bird

Karmen’s sister Sian told DailyMail.com that Karmen was riding a scooter made by the company, Bird

Speaking to the BBC in February,  Bird’s director of safety, Paul Steely White, said the number of injuries caused by scooters is minimal.

‘The number of injuries… amount to less than a fraction of 1% of the total number of e-scooter rides taken worldwide.

‘Car crashes kill more than one million people each year. And for every person cars kill on impact, many more lives will be cut short due in part to their devastating impact on our climate,’ he added.

Recounting Karmen’s accident, Sian described the ‘traumatising’ sight of seeing her sister on the floor in a ‘pool of blood’.  

‘We decided to rent out an electric scooter to venture around the area but after not even one minute, Karmen hit a pothole and flew off her scooter,’ she said. 

‘When I went up to her she was unconscious and in a pool of blood. The blood was pouring out onto the ground, it was traumatising to watch.’

In the fall last Tuesday, May 28, Karmen also suffered broken bones including a broken collarbone, nose and eye orbital bone, which will require surgery. 

After she was taken to UCLA Hospital, Sian discovered the cost for Karmen to be treated in the intensive care unit was more than $15,000 a day.

‘The ambulance came and she was taken straight to Intensive Care in UCLA Hospital,’ Sian said. 

Karmen (above), who forgot to buy travel insurance, remains in intensive care in the US

Karmen (above), who forgot to buy travel insurance, remains in intensive care in the US

Karmen (above), who forgot to buy travel insurance, remains in intensive care in the US

‘It is $15,000 per day to stay in ICU and that isn’t including her medication, scans or needles. I am at my wit’s end – I don’t know how I will afford this.’ 

‘We have been told that if she gets out, she will need to stay in LA and go for a follow-up meeting before she can fly home to Belfast. 

This follow-up will cost $4,000 alone, so the total just keeps getting more and more.’

Both students remain in Los Angeles without any other family to help after their mother, Karen, died suddenly last year. 

Both students remain in Los Angeles without any other family to help after their mother, Karen, died suddenly last year. Sian (right with Karmen) said her mother would be 'sorting this all out' if she were still alive

Both students remain in Los Angeles without any other family to help after their mother, Karen, died suddenly last year. Sian (right with Karmen) said her mother would be 'sorting this all out' if she were still alive

Both students remain in Los Angeles without any other family to help after their mother, Karen, died suddenly last year. Sian (right with Karmen) said her mother would be ‘sorting this all out’ if she were still alive

Sian said if her mother were still alive, she would be ‘sorting this all out’, but instead she is ‘stressed out and confused’. 

She added a note of caution to other travelers to get insurance before going on holiday. 

‘We wouldn’t be in this position if Karmen had of thought to get it,’ she added.

A Go Fund Me page set up to raise money for Karmen’s treatment has raised more than $12,000 to date.

In 2018, Dr. Tarak Trivedi, an emergency room physician in Los Angeles and co-author of one of the first peer-reviewed studies of scooter injuries counted 249 scooter injuries, more than 40% were head injuries. Just 4% were wearing a helmet. 

DailyMail.com has reached out to Bird for a statement and is waiting its response.

Fears grow across the world over dangers of electric scooters 

Electric scooters have become hugely popular for their convenience, 15mph speed and sense of fun.

But evidence is mounting over their safety record as legislators across the world consider whether they need to be regulated.

They are already illegal on public roads and pavements in New York and the UK. 

Above: Andrew Hardy was on a scooter when he was hit by a car in Los Angeles. Mr Hardy was told by doctors he would likely be paralyzed for life after the crash, in 2018. He later learned to walk again but said he will never ride a scooter again

Above: Andrew Hardy was on a scooter when he was hit by a car in Los Angeles. Mr Hardy was told by doctors he would likely be paralyzed for life after the crash, in 2018. He later learned to walk again but said he will never ride a scooter again

Above: Andrew Hardy was on a scooter when he was hit by a car in Los Angeles. Mr Hardy was told by doctors he would likely be paralyzed for life after the crash, in 2018. He later learned to walk again but said he will never ride a scooter again

They are now used in more than 100 cities worldwide, but many have suffered serious injuries while using them and others have died.

The Associated Press estimates there have been at least 11 electric scooter rider deaths in the US since the beginning of 2018 – nine of those were on rented scooters.  

In 2018, Dr. Tarak Trivedi, an emergency room physician in Los Angeles and co-author of one of the first peer-reviewed studies of scooter injuries counted 249 scooter injuries, more than 40% were head injuries. Just 4% were wearing a helmet. 

Bird, the alleged maker of the scooter, ridden by Karmen, was a strong proponent of a 2018 change in the law in California which removed the legal requirement for scooter riders to wear helmets 

A study by watchdog Consumer Reports in February said there had been at least 1,545 scooter-related accidents in the U.S. since 2017 

In Austin, Texas, public health officials working with the Centers for Disease Control identified a total of 271 people with potential scooter-related injuries from September 5th through November 30th, 2018 

After scooter-sharing company Bird dropped scooters onto the streets of Santa Monica, California, in 2017, Dr Tarak Trivedi, who co-authored a review of studies of scooter injuries, counted 249 injuries from accidents while using the vehicles.

Last week in the Swedish city of Helsingborg, a rider was struck and killed by a car just one day after scooters were introduced there, leading to immediate calls for a ban.

And in Nashville, Tennessee, where another rider was killed, the city’s mayor warned scooter operators they had 30 days to clean up their act or he would propose a ban.

Fed up with the thousands of scooters flooding Paris streets, Mayor Anne Hidalgo recently announced new regulations limiting the number of scooter operators and imposing a 5mph speed limit in areas with heavy foot traffic.

The city has already imposed a 135 euro ($150) fine on anyone who rides scooters on sidewalks.

photo link

(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply