Janet Lee

Janet Lee
Photo:Janet Lee, injured by a taxi partition.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Comments; Doctors comment - we start, and end with, taxi regulator comments


“Those partitions create a plastic surgeons’ dream.”

Jack Lusk -  NYC TLC Chairman 1988-1991




Jack Lusk, for 3 years, extorted every cab owner in NYC to violate Federal Safety Laws with partition installation requirements imposed. The threat was that of being put out of business for failing to install a partition.

Dr. Gregory Husk - Chairman of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Medical Center, “You can't do this kind of work (Emergency Medicine) without being impressed that the taxicab partition breaks a lot of noses, a lot of lips, a lot of chins.''

NYC taxi partition injury victim
Janet Lee
This is the first such picture found in a NYC newspaper
after more than three decades of NYC taxi partition installation requirements.


Dr. John Sherman - Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery, New York Hospital, New York City -  "The results are uniformly disastrous: patients with head wounds from dividers, fractured noses, lacerations and worse.  Last month I saw two patients die from taxi-related injuries.”

I have spoken with Dr. Sherman more than once. He is exasperated and has stopped his efforts to correct the problem. He accepts the partition risks as part of life in NYC.

Dr. Marc Melrose - Emergency Physician, Beth Israel Medical Center, Manhattan - "Cabs don't have to get into an accident for people to be hurt. The cab stops short and you go flying into the screen with the handles and bolts and that metal change thing. It's dangerous."

TV MC & Producer, one-time host of "Double Dare" on Nickelodeon, Marc Summers nearly lost his left eye when he was thrown into the partition of a Philadelphia taxi.


TV host and Restaurant: Impossible producer Marc Summers, 60, is on the mend and in good spirits following August's harrowing car crash. After suffering multiple broken bones in his face and undergoing emergency reconstructive surgery, Summers has now revealed his first post-crash photo to People. In the photo, Summers is swollen but smiling, and it's hard to tell that he was gravely injured only two short months ago.
While Summers' recovery is remarkable, he tells People that he still has a way to go. ""I have to have more surgery,"" he tells People. ""My left eye isn't where it's supposed to be and the ripped skin from where I hit the [taxi's] credit card machine hasn't healed properly.""


 Dr. Rahul Sharma, NYUMC  - has worked in several city emergency rooms, is all too familiar with the  damage the anti-crime partitions, required since 1994, can cause. “Ask any ER doc in Manhattan, and they will tell you they see it very frequently,” he said. “People have a false sense of security in the backseat of a cab.”

Dr. Sharma has been working with Dr. Goldfrank and they are pursuing legislation to make people use seat belts in the rear seats of taxi cabs. I pointed out that correction of the violations of federal motor vehicle safety standards would solve the injury problem for BOTH front and rear seat occupants.


Dr. Stephen Pearlman - Upper East Side facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon - “Gaping soft tissue injuries are also prevalent, since an edge of a partition's sliding door or its metal track can tear the skin.” “In the most severe instances, this causes "almost an avulsion" of the nose.”

Dr. Paul Lorenc – NYC Plastic Surgeon “Crushed noses, fractured cheekbones and eye sockets, and "stellate," or burst lacerations, are among the most common injuries suffered when a passenger is hurled into the clear partition.”

Dr. Geoffrey Doughlin - E.R. Director, Jamaica Hospital – ‘Since the partitions act as a second windshield, back seat passengers fall victim to the same type of injuries as people in the front passenger position, the "suicide seat," ‘

Dr. Arnold Komisar,  Dr. Stanley Blaugrund and Dr. Martin Camins - Lenox Hill Hospital, NYC - "Every emergency room in New York is seeing patients injured in taxicabs: three here, four there, six at another hospital, so it's easy to underestimate the problem,"

Dr. Gary Sbordone – Massachusetts Chiropracter  - “Could cause complex spinal injuries.”

Dr. Sbordone treated my spine injury from a partition in a rear end collision.

Dr. Kai Sturmann - Acting Chairman, Emergency Department, Beth Israel  -  “I would like to see back-seat air bags.”

Dr.  Talmor, Dr. Barie, Dr. Shapiro and Dr. Hoffman, Department of Surgery, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, NY. In 1996 four surgeons from the Department of Surgery, New York Hospital-Cornell
Medical Center released a report, this is a review of it.

“Craniofacial injuries resulting from taxicab accidents in New York City”

Taxicab accidents are a common occurrence in New York City. This review was undertaken to characterize the nature of craniofacial injuries that result from taxicab accidents
Data were collected on 16 patients who required admission to trauma or plastic and reconstructive surgery services, after sustaining craniofacial injury as a result of a taxicab accidents. 
Front-end deceleration collisions were the most common mechanism of injury. 
Fifty-six percent of the patients were thrown against the bulletproof, Plexiglas driver safety divider and sustained an injury most commonly to the anterior midface. 
Both bony and soft tissue injuries were common in the entire group. 
“Given the high incidence of craniofacial injury, appropriate safety standards for taxicabs must be initiated, including the reevaluation of the utility of the safety divider”

Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan, ACSH (American Council on Science and Health) President, “The deaths and injuries attributed to taxicab accidents are highly preventable.

Dr. Ralph Upchurch, chief of emergency medicine at Somerville Hospital, said not wearing a seatbelt in the back seat of a cab can be especially dangerous because of the plastic divider between the front and back seats.

Dr. Seth Manoach, lead author of the report, said  'The plexiglas partition that seperates the front and back of the cab, protruding change dish, and metal border can cause serious injury in an accident.' He urged taxi passengers to buckle up "Sit in one of the seats with shoulder and lap belts. The middle seats don't have them and during a front-end collision, your head is going to come forward and hit the barrier."
From - 12/29/98 New YorkTimes article about zero seat belt usage observed by N.Y. Univer. Research Team findings 4/97-8/97

Diane McGrath-McKechnie, Chairwoman of the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission;
“The experience of New York City absolutely does not support the notion that partitions have increased the number of passenger injuries.”
“We are well aware of the potential dangers of passengers not wearing their seat belts hitting partitions in short-stop circumstances.”

Frank Armstrong, Motor Vehicle Safety Compliance Enforcement Section Director, 6/22/84
"Dear Sir: It has come to the attention of this office that you may be in violation of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 by the manner in which you are installing partitions in taxicabs and/or police cruisers.“

Matthew Daus – TLC Chairman 
“These cars and the partitions that are in them are 100 percent safe,” 
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