You are leading a week-long backpacking trip for a local high school. During the night a cold front with high winds passed through breaking tree limbs and blowing down trees. A six-inch limb split off an overhead tree and landed on a student tent, hitting one of the students a glancing blow on his head while in his sleeping bag.
When questioned, James said the storm had just woken him up when something hit the tent, collapsed it, and hit him in the head through his sleeping bag. The commotion woke his tent mate and together they managed to push the branch off the tent. They came to get you because James said he had a headache and a big lump on his head. Other than the lump and a headache (3), James says he feels okay. He has no spine pain or mid-line spinal tenderness, normal motor and sensory exams on his hands and feet, and no tingling or electric shooting pain in his arms or legs. His skull feels intact beneath the swelling.
What is wrong with James and 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.
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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