Re: Wilderness first aid(story)
Robert M. Lewis (science_guy@JUNO.COM)
Thu, 15 May 1997 08:31:41 -0400
I can rember a short day hike up a small mountain (1000-3000 foot climb
over 15-30% graded trail) to camp for the night. half way up one scout
suddenly stopped and started hyper-ventilating. He was in the back of
the pack, I was in front. Thankfully this occured after I just finished
a steep climb and was resting and waiting for everyone else.
The treatment for hyperventilating is to reduce the ammount of oxygen
that the person beathes in. This is usually done with a paper bag. I,
of course, didn't have a paper bag. So this is what I did. I allways
carry my first aid kit in a plastic bag. At this time it had become
somewhat holy. I gave him the bag to breath in and sat him down, on a
pack, until he was breathing normally again. He was then sent back to
the health lodge (30 min walk down hill) with two other people, of which
one knew the trail well. The rest of the group and I went on with the
hike. The other two returned about 1 hr after we got to the top.
This is an example of what small problems can occur, and how this one was
solved. I have been witness to a variety of things in the wilderness...
Acute Mountain Sickness, Giardia (myself was patient), Scalds, Burns,
Cuts, Bruises, etc...
Things happen, and most things can be taken care of by using a small
first aid kit. The bigger things, such a falling while bouldering, can
usually be prevented. When they do happen in remote areas, no one
usually has the equiptment to deal with is easily, since you probably
were backpacking and concerned with weight. That is where improvision,
the main part of First Aid, comes in.
As an instructor in my EMT class said... You will never find a fractured
leg lying straight out. It will allways be mangled and twisted in some
way. The spints we teach you are the basics. Every other fracture will
have to be improvised... And yes, I have never seen the fractures that
occur in the classroom, they are allways twisted one way or another.
Also, remember... Splint joint above and below for bone fracture, and
bone above and below for joint fracture.
YIS & EMS
Robert M. Lewis
EMT in NJ
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City