LIBERTY, Mo. – Two ambulances came racing up to the emergency room during a press conference at Memorial Hospital Wednesday with two victims from a two-vehicle accident, one of the victims injured being a motorcyclist.
According the police report, Grady Smith, 19, was the motorcyclist injured, suffering a broken arm and several broken bones. Smith’s doctor said that the injuries could have been a lot worse if Smith had not been wearing a helmet.
Around 50 physicians were holding a press conference on the front lawn of Memorial Hospital, opposing the repeal of the state law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets. During the press conference, they released a petition that opposes the passing of the bill by the Missouri State Legislature. A number of doctors and other clinical staff from hospitals around the city such as Memorial Hospital, Mercy Hospital, Regional Medical Center, Sacred Heart Hospital, St. Nicholas Hospital and Medi-First Clinic attended the press conference.
Dr. Karl Sodergreen said that the number of serious head injuries caused by motorcycle accidents in Missouri is over 70 percent less now than when the helmet law was adopted 25 years ago, and that the reduction is directly related to the passage of this law. Dr. Hector Rivera added that a study from last year showed that emergency room costs alone could raise by more than 45 percent if the helmet law is repealed.
The petition has received over 400 signatures so far with hopes by the physicians of reaching at least 500 by the time it is sent to the state legislature. The physicians plan to send their petition to the legislature on Monday, which the the bill will then be considered on Wednesday, according to Sodergreen.