A Texas man who was severely injured on a Bird rental e-scooter narrowly avoided having his left leg amputated but was left with permanent injuries and a hospital bill of nearly $1 million.
Alexander Forney, 21, of Arlington, Texas, was riding the e-scooter in the Seep Ellum section of Dallas last August when the electric scooter suddenly flipped and hurtled him onto the concrete.
The impact shattered Mr. Forney’s kneecap and tibia, cracked his front teeth, and left him with a severe road rash. He told Dallas’ WFAA Channel 8 News that he must have hit the brakes a little too hard. He said it was one of the most painful experiences of his life.
Mr. Forney’s leg was so damaged that surgeons considered amputating it. “There were talks about amputating it. It was on the table due to how bad the break in the knee was and the tibial plateaus,” Forney told WFAA.
Ultimately doctors decided they would repair his leg. The surgery took nine hours, and dozens of metal rods now hold the leg together. Mr. Forney now gets along on crutches. He will likely walk again without the use of crutches, but doctors said he will experience arthritis and nerve damage.
The recovery process hasn’t been a completely smooth one for Mr. Forney. After a week in the hospital, he had to check back in when he developed a kidney infection and kidney stones due to using a catheter during his original hospital stay.
Then he received all the bills for his hospitalizations. They totaled nearly $1 million. His insurance paid the bulk of that, but he is still left with a $10,000 medical debt.
Dallas opened up its streets to rental e-scooter companies in June for a trial run. Almost immediately, rental scooter companies Bird, Lime, Razor, and others dropped thousands of scooters on city streets.
Riders unlock the e-scooters and pay for their rides with a smartphone app. Since their appearance on the streets of major cities nationwide, e-scooters have come under attack by many people who say the scooter fleets are full of dangerously ill-maintained devices. Critics also say that there is little to no training for newbie e-scooter riders, resulting in an uptick of accidents and injuries.
According to WFAA, a survey of medical professionals conducted by an emergency room physician in one major downtown Dallas hospital estimated that the hospital has seen as many as 480 e-scooter injuries since the devices debuted on the city streets over the summer.