2nd North Wales Mountain Medicine Forum, Bangor Hospital

This evening Team Training Officer Elaine Gilliland, Equipment Officer Paul Brain and Trainee Team member John Fletcher journeyed straight from their ISAC course (see previous news entry today) to attend the 2nd North Wales Mountain Medicine Forum at Bangor Hospital.

Entitled ’A Very broken Climber – The Ultimate Broken Climber,’ this evening’s seminar was aimed at those dealing with trauma in the outdoors and those Mountain Rescue Teams who attended included NEWSAR, Brecon MRT, RAF MRT Valley, Ogwen Valley MRO, and Bolton MRT.

The event was organised by Dr Linda Dykes, a consultant in Emergency Medicine for Bangor Hospital, and followed the true case of a young female climber and her rescue from a fall whilst rock climbing, through to her ongoing recovery.

The story started with the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team Doctor, Dr. Will Sutcliffe, outlining the Mountain Rescue Team’s role in the rescue. Mountain Rescue ultimately passed the job on to a Sea King from 22 Squadron, C Flight, RAF Valley, with the story taken up by the Radio Operator Squadron Leader Spike Wright, then Winchman Sergeant Ed Griffiths.

On reaching A&E the casualty was transferred into the care of Dr Linda Dykes who had to consider in her initial treatment the passage of time since the accident occured. This was followed by the Surgeon Mr. Koldo Azurza taking up the tale of what was found with a number of CT scans of the casualty shown.

The next speaker was the casualty’s mother, who is also a Theatre Recovery Nurse, who gave a heart wrenching account of how the accident affected, and continues to affect her daughter’s recovery.

The lecture then paused for a break, during which the guest of honour, the injured girl herself, then spoke to a number of the rescuers from that day.

Following the break, we were treated to guest speaker, Mr Bidri Narayan, a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon from Royal Liverpool University Hospital, where the casualty was ultimately transferred to.

He outlined the reasoning of decisions when to amputate or when to try to save limbs, with a number of scales used to assess the likelihood of success when trying to save a limb.

Despite the casualty’s severe injuries, which included a traumatic partial amputation of her ankle, the decision was taken to save her limb. The casualty is still recovering, but wants to return to university and to return climbing!

The whole evening was a unique experience which allowed each stage of the rescue to appreciate and understand the difficulties throughout the casualty’s treatment and to develop a mutual respect for each team’s input.

Following the lecture there was an opportunity to meet friends and colleagues from other rescue teams across the country. Elaine, Paul and John would like to thank Dr Linda Dykes and Bangor Hospital for arranging this lecture and for the opportunity for Bolton MRT members to attend.