Re: Backcountry Emergency: Evaluation
Ian Ford (ianford@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Sun, 4 Jun 1995 00:04:38 BST
>Well, I guess I had that moment that every Scout leader dreads. Last
>Sunday a Scout walked up to me in camp holding his head with blood drippin
>through his fingers. It seems that he had been playing cards in a tent wi
>a couple of his buddies when he was dealt a particularly bad card. In an
>over-emotive gesture, he flung himself backwards and hit his head on a roc
>underneath the tent. Any kind of head wound will produce a dramatic amoun
>of blood, and this was no exception. We sat him down with an ice pack an
>As it turned out, there were no complications, and not even anything to
>stitch up, so not taking the ambulance ride was the right choice. With 20
>hindsight, I still think I made the right decision to evacuate him at tha
>time and in that manner. After dark (this happened at 4:30), it would no
>have been possible for the helicopter to land near us, and if there had be
>some complications from the head injury, it would have been difficult to g
>him out, even the two miles (steep downhill). There was an access road, b
>the recent rains may have made it difficult to get a 4WD vehicle in.
Alan - I can't fault your action ...
I had something very similar - on a cabin campout one of my Cub Scouts fell
from the top bunk - about five feet up - onto a concrete floor. I discovered
him when I went to wake the kids up. I tripped over what I thought was a kit
bag. I shoved it out of the way with my foot then turned on the light and
discovered it was a sleeping bag with a little body in ... fast asleep. The
Sixer (Denner) said Paul had fallen out of bed. The <bottom> bunk was empty,
so I thought he had fallen from there. I shook him and he replied, so I
left the kids to get up and dressed.
About twenty minutes later Paul came to breakfast with the most horrendous
black eye. At this stage I discovered the true state of affairs.
Fortunately when I checked him out he seemed OK - normal pupil responses,
normal pulse , not flushed, no nausea . His vision was normal and he was
oriented - I asked him his adddress , date of birth , what he had done
I put on an ice pack and he seemed fine apart from a slight headache.I
explained that I could not give him any painkillers and he should let me
know if he felt worse. The headache went off in about half an hour.
In a couple of hours he was off with his Six on an orienteering exercise ...
I told the other kids to keep an eye on him. One of the Scouts from my BSA
troop, a sensible lad, was helping us and he went with the group.
In the circumstances I took a calculated risk and decided to leave it until
his parents came to collect him in about six hours time ... BUT the
difference was that we were in a building , on a Scout camp about fifteen
minutes for an EMT ambulance and about five miles from hospital. I had a
mobile phone and could call for help.
His Dad arrived that afternoon and I explained what had happened.
Fortunately he said it was " one of those things " and didn't seem too upset
when he realised his kid was OK. I told him to make sure that he got
medical help if Paul seemed sleepy or vomited or showed any other signs of
head injury. The following Wednesday Paul was at the Pack meeting as good
But as I say, that was on a permanent Scout camp right next to a motorway.
In your circumstances I might well have played safe and gone for a medevac
BTW - in case you are wondering , here in UK Cubs camp without parents - we
have a ratio of 1 adult : 6 Cubs. On this camp we had twelve Cubs with
three Leaders and three (BSA) Scouts as helpers. I "borrowed " the Scouts
from T401 because our own troop had another activity that weekend.
AGSL 25th Greenwich Scout Group
District Committee Member, Channel District BSA
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City