At approximately 12:00 p.m. on Sunday March 8th, 2015, CRSAR was paged to assist BC Ambulance Service with a medical evacuation from Ripple Rock Trail. CRSAR received information that a 63-year-old male had fallen and received chest injuries and was requiring a medical evacuation. The information we initially received was that a male had fallen on the trail approximately 2 to 3 km down the trail and received some pretty serious injuries. BCAS was en route, so we responded to provide support.
Once we arrived on scene, we talked to a friend who had come out to meet our members and were told that the subject was lying on the beach at Nymph Cove. Our initial plan was to evacuate by ground so we brought our UTV and a crew to transport the subject using a special wheeled stretcher that we have. Two first aid attendants went in first to stabilize the subject. Once we realized it would be a very long and difficult stretcher pack, we decided to call the Coast Guard to provide a vessel for a beach evac. Moreover, we decided to activate a helicopter, just in case the Coast Guard couldn’t land as the tide was rising. Once our members arrived on site, they stabilized the subject and the Coast Guard vessel showed up and assisted in the
patient packing. The helicopter landed several minutes later and we moved the subject down the beach to the awaiting helicopter where a BC Ambulance attendant accompanied the subject to an awaiting ambulance. Our crews hiked out and we returned to Campbell River.
This was a pretty typical call for us; we often assist BC Ambulance in backcountry medical evacuations and we have performed many over the years on this trail. We generally use the same procedure every time: get them to one of the beaches and evac them by boat or helicopter. We have packed people out by stretcher in the past but it’s very labour-intensive and can delay treatment, so if we have an opportunity to evacuate by sea or air we will do that to reduce the work load on our crews, as well as decrease the time a subject will spend in the field. This is our second call of the year for 2015. Last year we had 48 calls making it a very busy year and to be doing medical evacuation from local trails in March is a little unheard of for this time of year. However, with both the mild winter and the long stretches of warm sunny days we have had, it’s not surprising people are out enjoying the back country, and I’m sure we are on track for another busy year.