Insane, amazing, exhilarating, exhausting, entertaining…there were a lot of words to describe the last 48 hours, and all of them could never do it justice. Yesterday morning started off with a fantastic talk on mass casualty medicine and organizing the scene into different stations and how to effectively triage patients. They ran us through many cases and we were able to have some great conversations on how we would manage the different patients in triage. After that we had a talk on how to set up a landing zone and the different aspects we need to keep in mind if we were to ever secure a scene for a helicopter to land. Lastly for the morning we went through a slew of different splints and how to apply a proper traction splint for a broken femur. We then broke into our groups and got to go practice bandaging up each other’s heads, arms, legs and abdomens, practicing for the coming times.
After that we headed outside, and began a long string of scenarios that would keep us on our toes the rest of the day and all through the next day. We each broke into our groups, packed up all our blankets, tarps, immobilization equipment and medic supplies onto the basket and assigned a team leader. One of our team was sent to be the ‘patient’, and they disappeared into the back room to get dressed up with fake blood, fake vomit, mock ups of fractures and eviscerations, and much more. The team lead would head to the check out where we would get the report of the incident and where we needed to go to find our victim. We would head out as a team, assess, manage and treat the patient as best we could, and got them off the mountain as quick as possible. Mind you, this patient was typically undressed in snowy, blowy and very cold weather, so keeping them warm was one of the top priorities….but I guarantee you that the shivering that most were demonstrating was very real. Today was an entire day of scenarios, and that basket gets heavier with each time we went out. Even as a team, the weight of the patient began to weigh on each of us, and of course the instructors never made the extraction easy for us. Every single scenario involved getting the patient off of the side of a very steep incline with downed trees, stumps, dead trees, loose leaves and rocks to avoid. But I have to really give it to them, after practicing on that terrain, most others will seem really easy. This long day coming to an end, but we all have the looming knowledge that tomorrow promises to be much longer, much harder, and much more exhausting. Needless to say…its bedtime…