Advanced life support in the wilderness

5-year experience of the Reach and Treat team

Terri Schmidt, Carol S. Federiuk, Andrew Zechnich, Markus Forsythe, Michael Christie, Christopher Andrews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Increasing recreation in the wilderness raises questions about the value of providing advanced life support (ALS) care in the backcountry. Since 1989 the Reach and Treat (RAT) team has provided ALS care in the wilderness area that surrounds Mount Hood, Oregon. The purpose of our study was to describe patient demographics, terrain, injuries, and ALS treatment in the wilderness environment. We utilized a retrospective, observational analysis of RAT missions from 1989 to 1994 based on data sheets maintained by the RAT team, prehospital run sheets, and hospital charts. Of the 114 missions analyzed, the median time of missions was 3 h, 9 min (range, 44 min-76 h) and 20% required technical climbing skills. Of the 74 patients treated, 55 (90%) received ALS care: 8 were intubated, 52 had intravenous lines established, and 24 received morphine for pain. Twenty patients were entered into the local trauma system. The most common injuries were extremity injuries (58), head injuries (18), and hypothermia (15). Mean time from arrival to return to staging area was 95 min. No injuries to RAT team members occurred during these missions, although two minor injuries occurred during training and testing. We found that wilderness-trained paramedics safely provided ALS care in a backcountry environment. This care may improve patient comfort during long extrication and speeds the arrival of potentially life-saving interventions such as advanced airway management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-215
Number of pages8
JournalWilderness and Environmental Medicine
Volume7
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996

Fingerprint

Wilderness
Life Support Care
Wounds and Injuries
Recreation
Allied Health Personnel
Airway Management
Hypothermia
Craniocerebral Trauma
Morphine
Extremities
Demography
Pain

Keywords

  • emergency medical services
  • emergency medical technician
  • search and rescue
  • wilderness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Cite this

Schmidt, T., Federiuk, C. S., Zechnich, A., Forsythe, M., Christie, M., & Andrews, C. (1996). Advanced life support in the wilderness: 5-year experience of the Reach and Treat team. Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, 7(3), 208-215.

Advanced life support in the wilderness : 5-year experience of the Reach and Treat team. / Schmidt, Terri; Federiuk, Carol S.; Zechnich, Andrew; Forsythe, Markus; Christie, Michael; Andrews, Christopher.

In: Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 7, No. 3, 1996, p. 208-215.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Schmidt, T, Federiuk, CS, Zechnich, A, Forsythe, M, Christie, M & Andrews, C 1996, 'Advanced life support in the wilderness: 5-year experience of the Reach and Treat team', Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 208-215.
Schmidt T, Federiuk CS, Zechnich A, Forsythe M, Christie M, Andrews C. Advanced life support in the wilderness: 5-year experience of the Reach and Treat team. Wilderness and Environmental Medicine. 1996;7(3):208-215.
Schmidt, Terri ; Federiuk, Carol S. ; Zechnich, Andrew ; Forsythe, Markus ; Christie, Michael ; Andrews, Christopher. / Advanced life support in the wilderness : 5-year experience of the Reach and Treat team. In: Wilderness and Environmental Medicine. 1996 ; Vol. 7, No. 3. pp. 208-215.
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