Anne says when she felt the snow start to slide, she tried to ski to the side of the avalanche but the snow pulled her under; and, as she tumbled she felt her skis release. She recalls releasing her airbag and it floated her to the top of the moving snow where she rode on the slide's surface until the snow stopped moving. She feels lucky to be alive. On exam, Anne has a painful (3) and tender right knee with slightly restricted range-of-motion and good distal CSM; she thinks she can stand but is concerned about skiing. During the focused spine assessment she reports her neck is stiff and sore (2) with some tenderness around C-5. Her pulse is 74 and regular, respirations 18 and easy, her skin is pink, cool, and dry; her blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and temperature were not taken. As you finish your assessment, Anne says she is starting to get cold.
By the time you finish examining Anne, CPR has been on-going on the second victim for 32 minutes. You are out of cell phone range and a storm is moving in. While you and the remaining people in the other party have extra layers, no one is prepared to spend the night. It's 2 PM and you are roughly three miles from your snow mobiles and an hour's ride to your vehicles at the snow park; it's an additional three hours to the nearest hospital.
What should you do? Click here to find out.
Don't know where to begin or what to do? Take one of our wilderness medicine courses. Guides and expedition leaders should consider taking our Wilderness First Responder course.