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Home Medicine Survival Medicine Patient Transport In A Survival Situation

Patient Transport In A Survival Situation

Without doubt the objective of a medic in survival situations is to transfer the ill or injured person to a nearest modern medical facility. In many scenarios of daily life these facilities might be non-existent. In such situations, one will have to decide whether patient can be treated for his / her medical problem at his / her current location or not. If he /she can’t be treated, one must consider how to transport the patient to nearest possible medical supplies.

It is important to stabilize the patient as much as possible, before deciding whether to move a patient. This means stopping all bleeding, splinting orthopedic injuries, and verifying that the person is breathing normally. If you cannot assure this, consider having a group member get the supplies needed to support the patient before you move them. Have as many helpers available to assist you as you can. The most important thing to remember is that you want to carry out the evacuation with the least trauma to your patient and yourself.

Some Patient Transport Techniques

Stretcher

An important medical supply to have in this circumstance is a stretcher. Many good commercially-produced stretchers are available, but improvised stretchers can be put together without too much effort. Even an ironing board can become an effective transport device. A person with a spinal injury should be rolled onto the stretcher without bending their neck or back if at all possible.

Shirt-Stretcher-for-patient-transport
Shirt Stretcher

Other options include taking two long sticks or poles and inserting coats or shirts through them to handle the weight of the victim. If the rescuer grasps both poles, a helper could pull their coat off. This automatically moves the coat onto the poles. Lengths of Paracord or rope can also be crisscrossed to form an effective stretcher.

Pulling A Person To Safety

If you must pull a person to safety, grasp their coat or shirt at the shoulders with both hands, allowing their head to rest on your forearms. You could also place a blanket under the patient, and grasp the end of the blanket near their head and pull. Again, if you are uncertain about the extent of any spinal injuries, do your best to not allow much bending of the body or neck during transport.

Patient-transport-The-Blanket-Pull
The Blanket Pull

Fireman’s Carry

If your patient can be carried, there are various methods available. The “Fireman’s Carry” is effective and keep’s the victim’s torso relatively level and stable. In a squatting or kneeling position, you would grasp the person’s right wrist with your left hand and place it over your right shoulder.

Patient-transport-Fireman's-carry
Fireman’s Carry

Keeping your back straight, place your right hand between their legs and around the right thigh. Using your leg muscles to lift, rise up; you should end up with their torso over your back and the right thigh resting over your right shoulder. Their left arm and leg will hang behind your back if you have done it correctly. Adjust their weight so as to cause the least strain.

Pack Strap Carry

Another option for patient transport is the “Pack-Strap Carry”. With your patient behind you, grasp both arms and cross them across your chest. If squatting, keep your back straight and use your legs and back muscles to lift the victim. Bend slightly so that the person’s weight is on your hips and lift them off the ground.

Patient-Transport-Pack-Strap-Carry
Pack Strap Carry

If you have the luxury of an assistant, you might consider placing your patient on a chair and carry using the front legs and back of the chair. This constitutes a sitting “stretcher”. Another two person carry involves one rescuer wrapping their arms around the victim’s chest from behind while the second rescuer (facing away from the patient) grabs the legs behind each knee. This is done in a squatting position, using the leg muscles to lift the patient.

It’s important to remember this simple acronym when pulling or carrying a person: B.A.C.K.

  • Back Straight – muscles and discs can handle more load safely when the back is straight.
  • Avoid Twisting – joints can be damaged when twisting.
  • Close to body – avoid reaching to pick up a load; it causes more strain on muscles and joints.
  • Keep Stable – the more rotation and jerking, the more pressure on the discs and muscles.

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