with Horse and Hound

When a Rider Is Injured in the Hunting Field

nmf.guitar.kleck.portraitNancy Kleck photoOur local emergency rescue squad is manned by all volunteers. They are reliable, responsive, and competent, and our hunt has kept them busy this cubhunting season with a couple of serious accidents.

In the midst of such crises many of us wonder what to do. Too many times we are somewhere in a field, far from a road, without an address recognizable by 911. How can we best help the patient and the responders before they arrive?

A few of our members organized a potluck supper at a hospitable member’s home and invited the head of the rescue squad to talk to us. It proved to be a highly successful and valuable evening.

Our speaker, Bryan Conrad, gave us a lot of good information, but the two primary concepts he wanted us to carry away were (1) don’t do the patient any further harm, and (2) help the emergency responders get to the patient.

With respect to the latter, he recommended that the Field Master appoint one or more mounted individuals to go to and remain at whatever access gates will be best for his vehicles to use all the way from the road. Someone needs to be on the road as well to direct them in. These individuals need to remain at their posts because more than one vehicle may answer the call; a vehicle with a first responder may precede an ambulance.

Conrad said there should be a minimum of people milling around the patient—especially on horseback! A few that can dismount and bring comfort to the patient should remain, but the rest should move away.

Issues discussed by Conrad included:
•    The A-B-C of first responders: Airway, Breathing, Circulation
•    How to check for breathing and heartbeat
•    Moving the patient if trapped beneath the horse, or to allow breathing if airway is restricted
•    The recovery position used to prevent aspiration of vomit if the patient might have suffered a concussion
•    How to stop external bleeding
•    What to do if the patient is in shock

I have intentionally refrained from advising how to handle these problems because I’m not qualified to instruct you. My intention here is to raise some issues that, if you hunt regularly, will come up in the course of your sport. If the subject strikes a chord, consider inviting your own local experts to make a presentation to your members and staff.

Posted October 26, 2012