Jan. 21, 2004
Dear County Commissioners:
I am writing to you as Medical Director of Capital Emergency Department as well as a very concerned general citizen.
Two years ago Dr. Stephen Snow (Director of Olympia Orthopedics) and I were about to contact you regarding the ORV park, because of the severity of injuries we were seeing in the emergency departments in Olympia. Luckily, the park was shut down before we had to spend more time and effort on the situation. We thought the serious problem was solved. We were appalled to read that the county was reconsidering the situation.
We urge you to consdier the degree of risk which people and the county take when engaging in ORV racing and driving. The injuries we saw were horrific-- and totally unnecessary. One patient on his ORV slid out and had another ORV land on top of him! He suffered injuries but luckily his head was not hit, otherwise he may have died or had brain injury-- which costs even more to care for over a lifetime. Patients with fractures of shoulders, femurs, and other bones were brought by ambulance to emergency departments. Many patients required specialists' care for months and could not do their jobs. The cost to society is huge when these injuries occur. If the patients decided to sue the county (for not having adequately prepared the trail-- or for not having "safety measures" in place-- or for WHATEVER-- I have seen such suits), then the county could be at risk for paying out a large claim, even past its limits.
What bothered us most was that CHILDREN were being taught to engage in this dangerous activity by their parents, and a few children we cared for were lucky they had not been killed in their accidents.
As an emergency physician, a mother, a taxpaying resident, and a citizen concerned about the environment, I cannot understand why anyone would ever consider having an ORV park in their community. There are many fun activities to support which are far healthier and safer. Please make good use of our resources and do not condone and encourage this dangerous sport.
Thank you for your consideration of this serious matter.
Sincerely, Cynthia Wolfe, MD Capital Medical Center