Memorial Hermann is seeing a spike in trauma injuries during pandemic. Here’s why

Trauma injuries on the rise

HOUSTON – At Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, they say trauma injuries are up.

The number is surprising considering people are staying home more, so you’d expect accidents on the road are down.

However, according to Memorial Hermann, traumas increased 24% from March – July 2019 compared to March – July 2020.

Dr. Michelle McNutt, Trauma Medical Director for the Memorial Hermann Red Duke Institute, said she’s noticed more motorcycle and ATV accidents as well, which could indicate people are just participating more in outdoor activities.

Michael Beckman added to that statistic last month while riding his motorcycle through Waller County on his way to League City.

“My bike went head-on into a pole, ejected me from the bike, I hit a barbed wire fence and slid down the fence into another pole and I was wrapped around that pole until the medics and police showed up to take me,” Beckman explained.

Beckman is 35 years old and has a wife and a 3-month-old baby. He said while riding a little too fast around a turn, he almost lost it all.

“You sit up here (in the hospital) and you think about ’when can I get home to my kid and my wife? How is my wife doing at home? Struggling because now she is at home with my son by herself and I’m here having to be taken care of because I can’t do anything,’” Beckman said.

Dr. McNutt said accidents like this and trauma, in general, are the leading cause of death for people under 40 and it’s preventable.

“Do not drive distracted,” she warned about Labor Day weekend. “This involves driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs and also text messaging. Holiday weekends often bring more drivers on the road and also alcohol consumption and that’s a dangerous combination.”

Although we are all still being asked to stay in the house and only leave for essentials, doctors know you’ll want to get out this weekend as people get fatigued of quarantine.

Beckman can relate.

“You can only keep people in a house for so long because they will go nuts,” he said. “On a motorcycle, you can social distance because you are by yourself, you can ride wherever you want… just get on your bike and just go.”

But now, he says he won’t be getting on one for a while.

“I’ll do it at some point in my life but right now my family is priority, my family comes first,” he said. He regrets the stress he put on his family after his accident.

“Every time I left, I made a promise to my family that I would wear full gear every time I left. That’s the only reason why I’m here.”

He went home and got to reunite with family earlier this week.

Dr. McNutt said Labor Day can lead to a lot of unnecessary hospitalizations. Keep in mind to: have a sober and non-distracted adult to supervise kids around water, while grilling food and especially near fireworks and sparklers.