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Aim: To describe injuries and illnesses in casualties rescued by Scottish mountain rescue teams during 1998 and 1999, with particular emphasis on major trauma.
Methods: Retrospective study. Information from mountain rescue reports, Scottish Trauma Audit Group database, and hospital case notes.
Results: Teams undertook 622 emergency callouts in the two years. A total of 333 casualties with injuries and illnesses rescued. There were 57 fatal incidents, 261 (78.4%) rescued with traumatic injuries, 12 (3.6%) suffering from major trauma, and 12 (3.6%) had spinal injuries. Half had lower limb injuries. Twenty six (7.7%) were suffering from non-traumatic medical problems. Forty six (13.8%) were suffering from cold or exhaustion. Fifty three casualties were dead when the rescue team arrived. Four died during or after rescue, one from hypothermia and three from trauma. All major trauma casualties were evacuated by helicopter.
Discussion: No previous similar studies identified. Significant numbers of seriously injured and ill casualties are being cared for by mountain rescue team casualty corers, many of whom are not healthcare professionals. The need for improved training, research, and equipment is discussed.
Conclusion: Scottish MRTs are called upon to provide an advanced level of care for a significant number of casualties. There is a need for formalised opportunities for in hospital training, management protocols, and continuing research and audit--none of which currently exists.
Large numbers of people make use of the Scottish mountains for sporting activities each year. Accidents unfortunately occur during these activities, often in remote locations and in adverse weather conditions. It is the role of the Scottish Mountain Rescue Service to locate, treat, and rescue injured and ill casualties when accidents occur.
The 26 mountain rescue teams (MRTs) in Scotland undertake over 300 emergency call outs a year. (1) Most teams (22 of 26) are made up of volunteers, who train and provide their services for no charge. Mountain rescue is funded partly by the government and partly by charitable funds raised by the teams themselves. Unlike many other European countries, casualties rescued in the United Kingdom are not charged for the rescue or medical service provided.
MRTs may be called upon to rescue people who have sustained injuries because of falls or avalanches or who are suffering from non-traumatic medical conditions. These people require assessment and treatment of their conditions during rescue. The author identified a need to study the types of injuries and illnesses in this group with the intention that the information be used to identify appropriate levels of medical skills, training, and equipment for mountain rescue team casualty carers.
This study aims to describe the types of injuries and illnesses of casualties who were rescued by Scottish MRTs over a two year period with particular emphasis on those people who sustained major trauma.
This retrospective study collated information on all rescues carried out by Scottish MRTs from the 1 January 1998 to 31 December 1999 from the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland's (MRC of S) annual rescue reports. (1)
After each rescue carried out by MRTs in …