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Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

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Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby Trent » Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:48 pm

In reading some of these postings it's apparent that there are a number of "trekkers" who don't realize the serious consequences of an injury or sickness when you are miles from the trailhead in the back country. The following is NOT "medical" advice. There's lots of folks and postings on this site that know more about it than I do. However you can google "Acute Mountain Sickness" and learn the symptons and treatments for this killer. THIS posting is about a couple of things you can do IF you get in trouble.

First of all, if you're "solo" in the backcountry and have the misfortune to break an ankle, get AMS [Acute Mountain Sickness with cerebral or pulmonary edema] or something, you're going to be a "permanent fixture" there unless you have some sort of "communication" to summon help from the outside world. I carry a sat phone [Iridium] and a ACR NOAA 406 mh rescue beacon.

While this may seem paranoic, consider that you may run across some other trekker in distress. I've tested the sat phone in some very remote areas,,,, it's always worked. For some reason the "Spot" things don't always work in the backcountry and your cell phone will be useless.

The Sequoia / King's Canyon Park Service's "emergency" phone number, to be used ONLY if there's a true emergency, is 559/ 565-3195. Secondly, if you have to be flown out [helicoptered] be aware that they [the Sheriff's Department, Park Service, etc] are going to send you the bill. It ain't cheap, figure on $10,000 or so.

The answer to this is "Global Rescue Insurance" @ 617/ 459-4200 [Globalrescue.com]. The deal is that if you are more than 160 miles from your "home base" [your residence] they will cover the cost of your "rescue" and getting you to the hospital, and if need be the cost of getting you all the way back to your home if it's medically necessary. From virtually anywhere on the planet. It does not cover your medical expenses, just the rescue and transportation part.

I've got it. I just hope I never have to use it. "Be prepared"



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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:46 pm

Trent wrote:

The Sequoia / King's Canyon Park Service's "emergency" phone number, to be used ONLY if there's a true emergency, is 559/ 565-3195. Secondly, if you have to be flown out [helicoptered] be aware that they [the Sheriff's Department, Park Service, etc] are going to send you the bill. It ain't cheap, figure on $10,000 or so.



County search teams DO NOT CHARGE. We never have and never will. We do not want people in serious trouble to hesitate to call and die as a result of not wanting to pay.

I appreciate the message you are trying to send, but you need to be factual. I do not know why you think search and rescue charges. We DO NOT.

The Park Service (as in national parks) will bill medical insurance for medical services rendered but again, YOU DO NOT NEED TO WORRY ABOUT INSURANCE OR CHARGES.

PERIOD.
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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby kpeter » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:54 pm

Trent wrote:For some reason the "Spot" things don't always work in the backcountry and your cell phone will be useless.

I don't want to be an apologist for the SPOT company, but my SPOT has never failed when I use it according to directions. We've had a few threads elsewhere on this topic so I won't elaborate.
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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby Trent » Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:49 am

Several years ago I met a woman who's husband had a heart attack in Saline Valley. He was medivac'd out via helicopter. I don't know if it was the Park Service, Inyo County, China Lake Navy, or ? But she said they got "the bill", a little over $8,000. Very glad to see that people aren't being billed now.

Re: the Spot things,,,,, this is what I got in an e-mail last month from the Sequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness Office "Remember, there is a high frequency of failure with satellite phones and spot devices in the High Sierra."
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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby oldranger » Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:43 pm

Trent

Re failures: A lot of that is operator error and not understanding the nature of satellite communication. If you are at the bottom of a steepwalled e-w canyon you can be s.o.l. with any device (not just sat phones or spot). I would always advise heading as far up the n. side of the canyon as possible to increase the probability of any device working.

But batteries can die or connections within any device can break. In todays world it seems that most people want to eliminate all risk. Truth is there are no guarantees of safe return when you step out your front door.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:56 pm

A medivac is not the same as a rescue. That is medical services.

A rescue is never billed. EMS services is something to submit to medical insurance.

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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby rlown » Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:21 pm

Trent,

Some of us have been doing this for years. Yes, stuff comes up but we seem to cope. Are you selling insurance?
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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:10 am

If you're talking about travel insurance that covers emergency medical services your medical insurance wouldn't, that may be a reasonable choice.

If you're talking about insurance to cover rescue teams and so forth, it is a waste of time.

The difference - Jimr was not seriously injured and required no medical intervention, just a way out of the fix he and his son got into. He wasn't charged.

Someone who requires on-the-spot medical treatment (not stabilization, not food and water, not straightforward rescue - treatment) - would need to expect charges. Search teams are not treatment oriented. We stabilize for transport if we can. We sometimes have a wilderness medicine trained person on the team, sometimes an EMS employee volunteers, but we do not provide treatment.

Telling people they WILL be charged for rescue is incorrect. It may lead to people not activating a SPOT while they can be located and evacuated in a straightforward manner without medical intervention, and lead to MEDICAL costs they would not otherwise have had to pay.

CLEAR?
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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby dave54 » Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:10 am

The OP is a spam ad.

I have a rescue/airlift add-on to my regular health insurance for $65 per year. Far cheaper than this spam ad.

Shop around. You can do better than these clowns.
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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:23 am

dave54 wrote:The OP is a spam ad.

I have a rescue/airlift add-on to my regular health insurance for $65 per year. Far cheaper than this spam ad.

Shop around. You can do better than these clowns.


I hope the thread is removed. People who try to profit from the fear of others don't need to be here.
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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby Trent » Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:12 am

I believe there’s been a misunderstanding about my post. Call it what you will; rescue, medivac, or whatever,,,,, what I’m talking about is the potential cost of a helicopter evacuation [if that becomes necessary]. That, and nothing else. I’ve met two different people with direct experience being evacuated out via helicopter and both got a bill for it.

Secondly, I have no connection with “Global Rescue” whatsoever other than I pay my annual premium. My post is and was NOT a spam for them. If you trek [or even just travel] to remote areas, having this sort of insurance, from whatever source, is something to consider.

And lastly, yes, you put yourself at risk every time you step out your front door. That’s not to say you shouldn’t go out the door. But trekking in the backcountry is a tad bit more risky than going out your front door. So you take a few small steps to mitigate that risk a bit. Such as having a way to communicate with the “outside world”.
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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:35 am

The point is as I have stated it - medical care costs money. Rescue teams call in medical teams when treatment is needed.

You need to be factual - people making decisions in potentially dire situations need to understand the difference. Hesitating to call for fear of a bill will make things worse than they might have been in some situations.

The real solution is to contact your medical insurance to determine coverage before you go, and ask about additional riders.

Please stop telling people they will be charged. That is not true and unreasonable for anyone to base what will ALWAYS happen based on a whole two people you happened to talk to.

Not all helicopter rescues are medically necessary and you are doing your fellow hikers a disservice by perpetuating the rumor that everyone is charged.

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