Sitka Mountain Gear
5000th SOS
Equipment
Contributors to this thread:
Ucsdryder 17-Sep-20
GF 17-Sep-20
IdyllwildArcher 17-Sep-20
Ucsdryder 17-Sep-20
g5smoke21 17-Sep-20
Ucsdryder 17-Sep-20
g5smoke21 17-Sep-20
g5smoke21 17-Sep-20
lewis 17-Sep-20
GF 17-Sep-20
Ucsdryder 17-Sep-20
JB 17-Sep-20
Thornton 17-Sep-20
GF 17-Sep-20
Thornton 17-Sep-20
GF 17-Sep-20
Ucsdryder 17-Sep-20
Thornton 17-Sep-20
TD 18-Sep-20
WV Mountaineer 18-Sep-20
GF 18-Sep-20
Habitat 18-Sep-20
Bake 18-Sep-20
RickH 18-Sep-20
Ucsdryder 18-Sep-20
bigswivle 18-Sep-20
Rut Nut 18-Sep-20
GF 18-Sep-20
IdyllwildArcher 19-Sep-20
From: Ucsdryder
17-Sep-20

Ucsdryder's Link
Crazy how many rescues from inreach! I will say, if someone in my party calls a life flight for me for “non life threatening injuries” I’d be PISSED!!!

From: GF
17-Sep-20
I guess I’m not sure what your point is…

I kept waiting to see something in that article that struck me as stupid or a frivolous use of the technology, and it just never came.

Yes, there have been cases where people called and search and rescue because they used up the batteries in their headlamps or something equally asinine... but that article was nothing like that.

17-Sep-20
I wonder what % of those 5000 were BS. I bet the vast majority of them.

From: Ucsdryder
17-Sep-20
Gf it said she was treated for non life threatening injuries. A helicopter ride can cost tens of thousands of dollars. I’m not taking a helicopter ride for “possible” serious injuries. Send in the horses.

From: g5smoke21
17-Sep-20
Could have a femur fracture that is non life threatening. I would take a copter out with that rather than a search and rescue basket any day and have my insurance pay it.

From: Ucsdryder
17-Sep-20
Smoke, do you have insurance specifically for a helo ride?

From: g5smoke21
17-Sep-20
I couldn't tell you 100% yes on that. I believe they would though. But I also understand most probably wouldn't or would have to pay a large deductable for it. I am lucky with having great insurance that is 100% coverage after deductable is met. Either way if something is majorly wrong or injured and still not considered life threatening I would take the helo

From: g5smoke21
17-Sep-20
But yes I would not want to pay that price for a helicopter ride unless it was bad

From: lewis
17-Sep-20
My wife and I have the helo ride insurance it’s good anywhere and is easily affordable aka cheap to us its a no brained Good luck and stay safe Lewis

From: GF
17-Sep-20
“ I’m not taking a helicopter ride for ‘possible’ serious injuries. Send in the horses.”

I wanna see you ride horseback with a cracked or busted pelvis and no pain meds. Then we can have at least one of us speaking from experience....

They had 2 people with considerable emergency medical experience who suspected that there might be an internal bleed, and they knew they had to make the call right away or the client would be SOL.

If you wanna gamble with your own money, that’s fine; as professionals, they would have been TOAST if that lady had gone bad and bled out. They might even have gotten cleaned out in a lawsuit just over the “pain & suffering” involved in rafting her out (whitewater) with significant injuries.

And FWIW... If it were my kid who was that busted up and with a possible bleed, I’d push that button in a heartbeat.

From: Ucsdryder
17-Sep-20

Ucsdryder's Link
Crazy how many rescues from inreach! I will say, if someone in my party calls a life flight for me for “non life threatening injuries” I’d be PISSED!!!

From: JB
17-Sep-20
I'm with Uscdryder. Had an outfitter on a fly in fishing trip tell us that if we got drunk and called our wives on the sat phone it was $150 per call. I've never been that drunk.

From: Thornton
17-Sep-20
I'd have to agree it seemed overkill. I've been an EMT, worked ER for 14 years, 7 of those as a RN, and it takes a good assessment by a seasoned paramedic or MICT to call in a chopper. EMT's have minimal training,( one semester, and most get very little clinical experience) and certainly are not trained in true critical care. Rafts capsizing and musculoskeletal injuries are common with these rafting companies, and many clients aren't in the best shape. It would have been interesting to know the assessment findings that the EMT found to call in a chopper. Better safe than sorry, but at $30k a flight, they better be sure what they're calling in.

From: GF
17-Sep-20
“ I've been an EMT, worked ER for 14 years, 7 of those as a RN, and it takes a good assessment by a seasoned paramedic or MICT to call in a chopper.”

So you know your stuff and you have a really good appreciation of how much time you have when a patient goes bad.

Problem for the rafting company is that YOU weren’t there! They were facing what they believed was a potentially life-threatening situation and they made the best decision they could with the skills and training that they had. You can’t fault them for that.

My dad was a surgeon; so almost every time I was sick enough or hurt enough for most people to be in the ER, I got to stay home... where I was under the care of a SURGEON. At least once he got home... (My mom got real good at sizing up which wounds needed stitches.. LOL)

And as a father who knows a lot about biology and really ought to know better, there have been several occasions with each of my boys when I kept them home when (I learned later on) I probably should have called 911 or - on other occasions - at least gotten them into the ER quite a bit sooner. And I’ve stayed home myself a few times when I absolutely should not have.

Because I’m proud enough and DUMB enough to slide on my ass all the way down a mountain with a 100% certainty blown ACL, rather than calling the ski patrol and enduring the Ride of Shame.

So these days, I’m making a concerted effort to wise up before I reach retirement age. If for no other reason than to ensure that I do…

From: Thornton
17-Sep-20
Just curious how the EMT suspected "internal bleeding" while evaluating pt on a sand bar in the middle of nowhere?. If pt is in pain, pulse and respirations will be high, especially after falling out of the boat into cold water. Next set of vitals to determine would be blood pressure, so did he miraculously have a bp cuff on board? I've packaged quite a few patients for the chopper and seen many more that were in true critical condition be sent by the ambulance instead. My guess is, the insurance is going to balk at paying that bill. I've seen some pretty significant diagnostic studies ordered by ER physicians later rejected by insurance back when I was a tech reviewing charts.

From: GF
17-Sep-20
I don’t doubt a single thing that you just said. I was actually wondering myself whether they had something like a BP cuff on hand. These days it almost seems like it would be mandatory for insurance purposes...

Speaking of which… I think if I were trying to make a living running a white water rafting operation, I would probably carry my own insurance to pay for Helo rides for my clients for situations exactly like this; the last thing I would want would be for one of my employees to balk at ordering an Evac just because somebody was worried about the cost.

And too, this is not like the old EPIRB that sends out the signal that calls in the cavalry. From the article, it sounds like the most trained people there on the ground were able to have a conversation with someone better trained and more knowledgeable who could ask them questions and offer them advice.

Anyway… If this had been a story about a runny nose or a sprained ankle or running out of Cheetos, well, that would be different. In this case, calling in the chopper may well not have been strictly necessary.... but (JMO) it wasn’t totally stupid, either.

From: Ucsdryder
17-Sep-20
It would feel stupid if you got a 50k bill a month later. Maybe at the time it seemed like a possible option but when you’re sitting at home and open that envelope I bet it feels stupid! Haha

From: Thornton
17-Sep-20
It very well was basically a sprained ankle, otherwise "treated and released" would have said "transferred to trauma center and taken to OR"..

From: TD
18-Sep-20
I'd like to hear more about the emergency air lift insurance and what that might run?

18-Sep-20
Most people have zero capacity to think for themselves. Proof in the pudding: A coronavirus that has proven to this point to be very unlikely to kill all but the sickest and immune compromised among us. Yet, the average American is so scared to die from it, they compromised the futures of their children’s fiscal well being over it.

From: GF
18-Sep-20
Getting a bill for $30k would definitely suck. But I bet it feels worse to carry out a body when you could’ve flown out a patient.

From: Habitat
18-Sep-20
The pelvis and femur are both big bleeders and the pelvis can cause internal damage.There are ways to tell or at least give you a good idea of a fracture.And even EMTs are taught these signs and symptoms.As an EMT I have called out for Eagle Med multiple times and haven't had anyone complain yet.

From: Bake
18-Sep-20
Just an FYI, most of those life-flight companies, and even a LOT of hospitals, will reduce their bills by a fairly decent amount if you offer to pay in full. . . Or they'll set up nice little payment plans. Just ask them. Or write a letter or two. They'd much rather settle for less, then sell the debt to a debt collection company for pennies on the dollar. . . .

Pretty easy call as a parent if something happens to your child. You press the button and pay the bill later. I spent a good number of years paying on child medical bills, and I don't begrudge a single penny of it.

Pretty easy call with a friend. You talk it over and press the button if you can't get them out. And if they can't talk, you press the &*(^ button. My buddy who I elk hunt with is bigger than me. No way I could get him out with certain injuries, even if they were non-life threatening.

And personally, I'd rather pay a bill than die. My wife would kill me if the accident didn't. :)

Stress and injury and pain mess with your mind. Who among us can really put ourselves in their shoes, especially if they're not experienced in the backcountry. Or not experienced medical people.

From: RickH
18-Sep-20
In Colorado when you get a hunting or fishing license there is a search and rescue fee added. Does that fee cover a heli ride if needed?

From: Ucsdryder
18-Sep-20
Rick it covers the s/r only. A heli ride is on you. And from my understanding your normal health insurance doesn’t cover it.

From: bigswivle
18-Sep-20
When you’re 100 miles out in the Atlantic and your boat is sinking, first thing u look for is satellite communication/epirb. Then u find a life jacket and then u pray

From: Rut Nut
18-Sep-20
Bake is SPOT on! Although my 2 life flights were covered by insurance, with over $500,000 total (that WAS covered by insurance), I still had about $7,000 worth of "out of pocket" expenses that were not covered. This was 2 years ago and I was able to negotiate a $150/month payment plan with the hospital.

15 years ago my wife was life-flighted to the nearest Neonatal ICU with a difficult pregnancy and that was also covered by our insurance.

From: GF
18-Sep-20
Thanks, Bake!

“ My wife would kill me if the accident didn't. “

ROFLMAO and a True Dat!

And +1 on setting up whatever payment plan you need to. JMO, $7k is a hell of a small price to pay for keeping a leg or staying alive.

19-Sep-20
If a doctor orders your air med evac, insurance will cover it. But your part will still be substantial in most cases. These are usually between two hospitals, getting you to a higher level of care.

S&R fees are separate if you push a button for a sprained ankle or a ruptured spleen. Same thing if someone who is not a physician calls in med evac and you have a sprained ankle, the insurance company can fight you on it.

Pelvic fractures are a good reason for a med evac. About 1 in 3 to 1 in 20 die, depending on the study. Every pelvic or femur fracture I’ve ever seen from trauma was discernible on physical exam. I’ve seen EMTs that could make that call and some who couldn’t. Like Thorton said, experience can be either end of a pendulum. If I got mauled by a bear, I’d trust Thorton as an ER nurse more than I would an Endocrinologist to help me and call a med evac if needed even though the latter is a physician.

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