Dr Nacht

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Anonymous's picture

I returned from vacation to read in the New York Times that my doctor, Carl Henry Nacht, was in critical condition after being hit by a tow truck and suffering head injuries while riding his bike on the West Side bike path. Today I learned that he died.

Dr. Nacht was a serious runner, averaging about 80 miles a week. He ran about six or seven straight sub 3-hour marathons in the 1990s. He was also Nancy's doctor, and we both saw him about a month ago. As always, he and I talked about running. I'm very sad but also angry that he wasn't wearing a helmet. If Dr. Nacht were wearing a helmet Thursday night he would most likely be alive today.

There is a tragic lesson here.

I just checked the NY Marathon Web site. He ran 17 consecutive sub-3-hour marathons from 1978 through 1996. from age 29 to 47. Oddly, that was the only race he would run all year. As recently as 1998, when he was near Ancient, he ran 3:00:03.

Anonymous's picture
Janet (not verified)
Would you please ask your running team mate....................

if this is the Dr.Carl Henry Nacht who worked at Jacobi Hospital/Bronx back in the 1980's. I believe, we were on the same Corporate Challenge Team which also included his wife. thanks.

Anonymous's picture
Hank Schiffman (not verified)
This from my team mate:

"""has to be. His wife worked in the Bronx. How many Carl Henry Nachts can there be?"""

Anonymous's picture
Janet (not verified)
very sad, a great loss to anyone who knew him

"and the nicest guy, a very happy and wonderful couple.
I recognized his wife's name too. She is also in health care. We all ran together as part of a team the ""Mellaril Milers"" for a few years in the early 80's, the infancy of the Corporate Challenge. I got $ from Sandoz, who makes Mellaril, for t-shirts."

Anonymous's picture
Hank Schiffman (not verified)
My 2 cents

Freud said people are irrational and the world never forgave him. We make mistakes under the best circumstances. I wear a helmet because it has saved my skull at least 3 times. Others don't like regulations. I don't like the idea of having to pay for their chronic care if they survive a head injury. On-the-other-hand, these people are a great source of organ donation...

If Dr Nacht was alive I think he would see my point. Those who have cycled without a helmet for 30 years might find their luck has run out at the next turn of the wheel. They may be adament about regulations but they don't know jack about head trauma. I suppose I just have to accept their point of view when I pay my health insurance premium.

Anonymous's picture
mike p (not verified)
spinal cord injury

i know a lot of people that were wearing helmets that sustained high cervical spinal cord injury resulting in quadriplegia, there are also many t level and lumbar injuries sustained while wearing a helmet . Being alive and paralyzed is much more preferable to death. that's one of the reasons i dislike the helmet mantra so much, the chance of catastrophic injury to bicyclist is too high when vehicle are driven aggressively and irresponsibly
the medical costs for spinal cord injury people is staggering. much higher than the liability insurance carried by the drivers in any state, so the cost of the vehicle accident get passed onto the state or federal govt. lets blame the car drivers for the injuries.

Anonymous's picture
Rich (not verified)
Helmets are designed to protect your head, not your spine

Mike, this makes no sense. Why blame helmets for injuries they are not designed to prevent? A helmet won't prevent crashes, but one study has shown that cyclists wearing helmets are actually involved in fewer crashes than those who go helmetless. On other electronic forums, you've mentioned several times how many crashes and close calls you've had. I ride about 20 miles daily, and have far fewer crashes and close calls. You are also one to quickly blame the city for everything bad that happens to a cyclist. What's wrong with asking cyclists to do something for themselves, like wearing a helmet (as well as cycling carefully and lawfully)? I'm all for pushing the city to do better traffic enforcement and traffic engineering, but we shouldn't forget the flip side of the coin: cyclists are also responsible for their safety; it's not just the city's job.

Anonymous's picture
mike p (not verified)

">""Why blame helmets for injuries they are not designed to >prevent?""
no i am blaming the irresponsible and aggressive drivers, this is where the blame should be. i am tired of hearing about injuries caused by aggressive operation of MV, the public reaction is was the bicyclist wearing a helmet? if not , he should have been and therefore all these catastrophic injuries to spinal cord or brain and body would magically not have happened. if the bicyclist was wearing a helmet, the reaction is ""well everything was done that could be"".
>You are also one to quickly blame the city for everything >bad that happens to a cyclist.
i actually blame the drivers.
>I ride about 20 miles daily, and have far fewer crashes >and close calls.
my recent close calls were because i was trying to stay out of the door zone and cars refusing to yield pulling out from parking spaces, even after they acknowledge me.
>A helmet won't prevent crashes, but one study has shown >that cyclists wearing helmets are actually involved in >fewer crashes than those who go helmetless.
i have a hunch that study is defective, would you post this information?
it seems like you have previous personal issues with my views, don't take other forum stuff and bring them here,


Anonymous's picture
MY two cents (not verified)

"The reason that cyclists who wear helmets are found to be in fewer accidents is due to a phenomenon called ""adverse selection"". People who wear helmets tend to be more careful in general and will more likely (though not always) avoid accidents where the CYCLIST is at fault (yes, there are some - I am not talking about accidents with cars, etc). So, not wearing helmets is correlated - again, not perfectly correlated - with ""higher risk"" behaviors. Wearing a helmet won't change your behavior. But it may save you a bad concussion when you get a bad flat and fall...there, an accident that is ""no one's fault"" - not a car's and not a cyclist's..."

Anonymous's picture
Rich (not verified)

"No doubt any study which shows any kind of positive results for helmet use is ""defective"" right? Just like all bike - car crashes must automatically be the fault of drivers?
Helmets won't protect cyclists from catastrophic high speed collisions with larger vehicles. Bodily damage besides head injuries in such cases will severely incapacitate or kill the cyclist. But helmets will protect cyclists head from crashes that are much less catastrophic, including ones that don't involve bike-mv collisions. One of the cyclists killed last year on the Belt Parkway greenway--no mv involved--was not wearing a helmet. Read these 2 ""crash stories"" links. One link is about people who were saved by helmets; the other link is about people who weren't wearing helmets.

And no, Mike, it's not personal. I simply disagree with you. Since you are using a public email forums at every opportunity to spread mis-informtion about helmets, not to mention calling helmet proponents names, then you should probably get used to people disagreeing with you in those forums.
BTW, not every fatal bike crash is the driver's fault. About half of bike-car crashes involve significant cyclist error. I've also peronally seen lots of episodes where observant drivers saved clueless cyclists from multiple dangerous cycling errors.

Anonymous's picture
mike p (not verified)
getting off topic

rich please keep the discussion to this forum and this topic, dont stalk me over the net. if you really want to discuss this introduce yourself.
as far as defective, yes , you have the link? iwould like to see this study since i see all these bicyclist at night on the streets with no lights front or rear etc.. they are hard for me to see moving slowly at under 10 mph speed or walking. most have helmets . i prefer to be seen from 500 feet so a vehicle can safely navigate around me.
so i wonder about this study, that transform a person into a safer operator of a bicycle with a chin strap.
i actually agree helmets hopefully hep when a bicyclist crashes without MV involvement. I am after the MV involvement that causes the unnecessary catastrophic injuries to the whole body, yes i against the helmet mantra, since it puts blame on the victim where the MV has not properly yielded, as in this case.

Anonymous's picture
Rich (not verified)
forums & topics

"You introduced the topic of helmets into this thread and this forum, in case you forgot, in the post blaming spinal cord injuries on helmets as another reason not to wear them. You've also discussed the helmet issue in other threads on this forum. Or is there a rule that you are allowed to post helmet opinions here, but no one else is? No one's stalking you over the net. My email address is posted in each thread; yours isn't. Thus far I've introduced myself as much if not more than you have. You express opinions online, you are likely to get responses, some of which may disagree with yours. You want to call names like ""helmet mantra people"", you will likely get some kind of a response. Get used to it.

Here's a summary of helmet studies:

Here's another one:

No doubt, the only ""right"" studies are the ones that show that helmets either cause more injuries, or don't prevent head injuries, right?

So to answer the question, how does a chin strap make you safer? It doesn't. Rather, it's risk aversion behavior vs. risk taking behavior, and the hypothesis that non-helmet wearers will likely take other kinds of risks as well, that cumulate into more crash involvement. There's actually an opposite hypothesis: helmet wearing makes people take more risks, because they think that the helmet will ward off all harm. Still looking for the study though; it's not where I thought I had it bookmarked.

Rich Conroy"

Anonymous's picture
Fixer (not verified)
Keep the change...

"Why don't you stand in front of McDonald's, and scream at all those irresponsible fat people walking out the door about how steamed you are for ""having to pay for their chronic care""? Or Nat Sherman's, maybe.

Now, THAT would take a REAL bite outta your insurance premiums, wouldn't it?

But it'd also make you a kook..."

cycling trips