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Posted on 12-20-2015

Car Accidents with Reindeer?

As a Baltimore Chiropractor that spends the majority of my time treating patients involved in motor vehicle collisions such as car accidents, bus accidents, motorcycle accidents, and pedestrian injuries, I can honestly say that I have never in my life encountered a patient who was injured in a Baltimore auto accident by colliding with a reindeer. That seems to make sense since as far I know there are no reindeer around Baltimore City, except maybe at the zoo for Christmas. Where I grew up in New York we would hear about auto accidents involving "regular" deer all the time. But it Baltimore that does not appear to be a major concern.

Having said that I was curious if there was any place in the world where there were recorded instances of motor vehicle collisions versus reindeer. As it turns out, there is!

In Norway it is estimated that there are approximately 200,000 wild reindeer that inhabit the land. They blend in with their natural habitat, making it difficult to spot them in the dark. It is estimated that approximately 2,000 of these reindeer are injured or killed each year when they are struck by snowmobiles and motor vehicles in Norway. Who knows how many whiplash injuries human occupants sustain in this reindeer crashes each year.

Interesting, as recently as the year 2010 the people of Norway have begun to spray paint the antlers of the reindeer with reflective coating to help cut down on the instances of reindeer vs. motor vehicle collisions. It is a small test study but so far it appears to be cutting down on the number of car accidents with reindeer. 

So while these may not be a big risk in the Baltimore metropolitan area, it does raise a good point: Always make sure to keep your eyes on the road because you never know what may be there. Oh, and for those coding nerds out there...there is an ICD-10 diagnosis code for motor vehicle collision vs. a reindeer. This would fall under the codes V40.5xxA - car driver injured in collision with animal in traffic accident.

So especially this week when extra reindeer are flying around and dropping off presents keep your eyes on the road. Dr. Gulitz and the team at Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic want to wish everyone a Merry Chistmas and a happy and healthy holiday season. We look forward to seeing you all in the new year!

Dr. Gulitz

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