Wilderness Medicine Case Study 66
While mountain biking down a steep single track your friend catches his front wheel and is thrown forward with his bike. During the fall the handlebars smash into the left side of his chest. Asa has difficulty sitting up and catching his breath, and appears to have injured his left wrist. After assisting him to a sitting position and coaching him to breathe with his abdomen, his respiratory distress appears to resolve. During your physical exam, he reports a sharp pain (7) in the ribs on his lower left chest when he tries to take a deep breath. While his left wrist hurts (4) and has a slightly decreased ROM with good distal CSM, it appears weak: Asa is unable to easily hold and lift a full 1-liter water bottle. His helmet is cracked, he reports feeling a bit woozy, and has a headache (4); the remainder of his physical exam is unremarkable. With abdominal breathing, the pain in his ribs is manageable (3). 20 minutes after his accident his pulse is 94 and regular and his respiratory rate is 22 and remarkably easy; he reports his normal pulse rate is in the mid-60's and he doesn't know his normal respiratory rate. While awake, he still feels a bit "out of it." A focused spine assessment reveals cervical pain and tenderness at C-7 with no shooting pain and normal motor and sensory exams.
What is wrong with Asa 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.
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