A 66 year-old man is swept away in a medium sized soft snow avalanche while skiing in the backcountry. He travels approximately 800 feet and is recovered partially buried. He is awake, alert, and reliable with cervical spine pain (5) and tenderness. He reports a tingling, electric-like pain in his right arm when his neck moves; he cannot distinguish between pinprick pain and light touch on his right hand; and, there is noticeable weakness on his right side when executing the motor exams on his hands. His remaining injuries are compatible with self-evacuation. Help is roughly eight hours away.
What should you do? Click here to find out. Click here to read an article about about assessing and managing spine and spinal cord injuries.
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.
Looking for a reliable field reference? Consider consider purchasing one of our print or digital handbooks; our digital handbook apps are available in English, Spanish, and Japanese. Updates are free for life. A digital SOAP note app is also available.
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