A 35 year-old man hits a tree while skiing out of bounds. Bill is awake, alert, and reliable but fails your focused spine assessment due to cervical pain (8) and tenderness with no neurological deficit. Ski patrol is available to assist with transport via a Cascade toboggan and snow mobile. Estimated arrival to scene is 45 minutes and transport to an ambulance is expected to take another two hours with arrival at a local hospital in another hour. Total response and transport time to the hospital is estimated at roughly ± 4 hours. The outside temperature is 22º F and the patient has additional thermal layers in his pack. His remaining injuries are compatible with self-evacuation.
Should you keep him quite and immobile and wait for help or begin a self-evacuation. Click here to find out.
Click here to read a blog article on current spine management guidelines.
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.
Our public YouTube channel has educational and reference videos for many of the skills taught during our courses. Check it out!