Around lunch time we heard the radio from the State Park Rangers crackle (we monitored it to get a head start on calls). We heard a Ranger say that they had a person over the side and to dispatch Fire. As we were leaving the station we could hear the tones going off. Not a bad response time.
As we arrived at the park we were met by another ranger in a 4x4 pick up. He led us to the correct trail and then told us it was way at the back of the park. He wasn't kidding. 25 minutes later and we still had yet to reach our patient. Narrow dirt roads, steep hills, and other riders all slowed us down.
As we neared the scene we could see where our patients path diverged from the trail. We saw a knot of people we down below. A couple minutes later we were dismounting from the rig next to the mountainside.
Our patient, a 25 year old woman, had accidentally left the trail and went down the side. She was able to ride about 50 feet down a near vertical cliff before going over her handlebars. She came to rest 40 feet later just short of the 30 foot sheer cliff that surely would have changed the nature of this call.
As it was the patient had a flail chest on her right side, a broken shoulder blade and a possible spine injury. What the woman had going for her was that there was no neurological damage that we could tell, she didn't have a pneumothorax, and her vitals were stable. She was in a lot of pain however.
On the side of the hill I started an IV and administered some morphine. It wasn't enough to take the pain away but it did take the edge off. Once that was set we placed her on a backboard, strapped her in and then placed her in a stokes basket. With the help of a couple of other riders we were able to get our patient down the hill.
Once there we loaded her in the back of the waiting pickup that the Rangers brought up initially. I hopped into the back with her. After making her as comfortable as possible we started the long bouncy drive down the the waiting air ambulance (and you thought the days of riding in the bed of pickup trucks was a thing of the past).
As we approached the helicopter the truck stopped. The RN jumped into the back and I gave her a quick report. She asked the patient a few questions and attached a few cables to the patient. We then pulled up closer the the chopper and stopped.
The whine of the turbine and the whir of the blades made communication a little more difficult. As a team we transferred the patient from the stokes basket to the helicopters loading board. We then strapped her in tight and carried her to the waiting bird.
Once she was loaded we retreated to a safe distance. 3 minutes later the engine revved up and the pitch of the rotor blades changed. We all turned our backed to keep our faces from getting sand blasted from the down wash. And with the familiar thump thump thump of the helicopter the patient was off to the trauma center.