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Incident Report -Hypothermia with Patellar Injury

Hi All

Well, its paddling season for us Ontarians again, thought it would be time to get back on the board. And today we have for you, an incident report. I am a kayaking instructor, today was my first day back on the job. Sharing time, see what ya'll can learn about my happy little day.

Incident;

66 year old woman, first day out kayaking, winds 0-7 knots, warm, clear, paddling in a group of 8, 2 leaders in training and myself leading. Everything going well, mood good, relaxed vibe, end of day, returning along shoreline to home base. Student comes up against a bit of driftwood projecting out of the water, trys to push off from drift wood like a Gondola paddler, capsizes, catches knee on thigh brace during wet exit. Swelling on right knee, can take weight. Ask if she wants to continue, all thumbs up, help her back in boat (capsize was in 2 feet of water). At this point I'm feeling okay about continuing, but I buddy with her. 30 minute paddle remaining. So I pair with her and send assistants ahead with group. So far, so good. Not for long.

Leaders in training continue ahead with group, I remain behind with capsize victim and one student who volunteered for back up. 5 minutes later she capsizes again, unexpectedly, calm water, but I am sure knee injury may have caused some shock, and confidence is low. Second capsize a bugger, she starts going hypothermic on me. Try alongside standard rescue, forget the T rescue and H, she has no limb strength, now crying, going bad hypo. Panicking, grabbing my cockpit combing, no longer had strength to hang onto boat. I grab her PFD and yank her torso out of the water, she is crying and not responding to directions. I have my bloody inflatable paddle float, without the pre-rigged stirrups for entry for weak paddlers, mistake number one. No VHF, school does not provide, mistake number two.

Luckily, sail boater with dingy comes up and radios for assistance, VHF. Marine police respond, now she is shivering, but out of water. Double check on knee, clear pronounced swelling over right pattela, now I am thinking dislocation, her case file on the course release show history of osteoporosis. Great.

It ends well, with Marine police and EMT support. On return trip, while I was dealing with crisis A, crisis B went down, found out later. Ferry boat heading toward returning members of group, student panics, freezes, ferry fails to change course. Leaders in training instruct her to back paddle, I wasn't there, I was back with victim A, but eventually she responded. Just plain goddam luck and she got it together enough to back paddle to safety, supported by leaders in training. BTW, instructor trainees are level 3 CRCA canoe instructors with at least 15 years expedition experience. So I wasn't out there without support.

So, folks, alot of Survivor, Eco challenge, Boot Camp, other TV shite outdoor rec out there, booming enrollments, we are booked until July at this point. Fellow instructors, I think we better all watch out. This is known in the army as a Clusterf...k, a situation where one problem leads to increased other problems, and snowball city. With growing popularity, we are challenged to do this safely. First time I had a clusterf...k like this in 25 years of paddling.

This is going to be one hell of a season, from the looks of it. Be careful out there.

And BTW, hello to Jed, Shawn, Don, and the rest of you, hope your kayak teaching has a smoother start than mine. Watch those older students, low body fat, bone fragility, poor conditioning.

Good to be back on the board', let's be careful out there.

Messages In This Thread

Incident Report -Hypothermia with Patellar Injury
Re: Incident Report -Hypothermia with Patellar Inj
Re: Debriefing necessary
Re: Debriefing necessary
Re: Incident Report -Hypothermia with Patellar Inj
Re: Incident Report -Hypothermia with Patellar Inj
OT Dr. Frankl
Re: Incident Report -Hypothermia with Patellar Inj
Re: Incident Report -Hypothermia with Patellar Inj
Re: Incident Report -Hypothermia with Patellar Inj