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This is a question Blood

Like a scene from The Exorcist, I once spewed a stomach-full of blood all over a charming nurse as I came round after a major dental operation. Tell us your tales of red, red horror.

(, Thu 7 Aug 2008, 14:39)
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A few years back before I joined the real world
Aside from being a ski instructor in Canada I was also a mountain medic and frequently worked weekends. This was because:
1. Most of the “work” involved sitting in a deck chair chatting shite with your mates
2. the base was at the top of the hill so you could check out the fanny on the lifts
3. attempting to look good in Oakleys and working on my tan was quite important in those days; and
4. it paid more if you worked weekends.

Obviously there was the odd drama. Broken wrists and arms, busted knees, altitude sickness, having an attack of the Yanks (being American and too bastard fat to get up if you fall over and feigning an injury) and the everyday cuts, sprains, bumps and bruises that you associate with a sport that involves progressing rapidly down a mountain on a slick surface at inadvisable velocity.

And generally it was thoroughly enjoyable. I only had one person die on me and there’s fuck all you can do about a massive heart attack so it didn’t bother me so much. What did bother me happened one fateful afternoon in March and really did scare the poo out of me.

Picture this; lovely sunny day, cold and crisp, great snow and only an hour left on my shift. Get a call at the hut that someone has had a “whoopsie” on one of the more difficult runs down into resort. This gets our attention as a “whoopsie” is a technical term for a massive fucking accident. So off we ski, complete with all our paraphernalia nicely packed into the bloodwagon (basically a stretcher on skis). Arrive at a set of crossed skis to see a young woman waving frantically at us from the side of the piste. Her jacket has a fair bit of claret on it so we assume someone has tried to nut the mountain again as head wounds, however small, are always bleeders and they’re relatively common on the slopes.

We were wrong. She grabs us and starts yammering away in Spanish. Not particularly helpful as me and my partner in crime Alain no speaka da lingo comprende? Still we walk over to the side of the piste and are confronted with a guy flat on his back with a ski pole straight through his thigh.

Bugger me. How the hell did he manage that?!?

Getting over our initial shock at seeing something we never thought we’d see we move in to check the poor fella out. Aside from the obvious he seems ok and there isn’t too much blood on the ground. But. He is very, very pale though. And I mean grey. Anyone that’s seen terminally ill people or a corpse knows what I mean. This probably means internal bleeding and exploratory surgery really isn’t an option on the side of a snow covered mountain so we have to get him off the hill sharpish. It’ll be quicker to get him down to the heliport in town in the bloodwagon than to call the chopper up direct so we work on stabilising the aluminium pole in his leg before attempting to put him in the wagon. For this we need our little Spanish girly. So Alain holds the guy still, I gesture at the girly to hold the pole as still as she can as I get some gauze, tape and bandaging ready to try and keep the pole still. I nod to Alain, who lies pretty much over the guys chest, and then to the girl who takes a firm grasp on the pole.

And then promptly pulls the thing straight out in a clean swift movement. I have a millisecond to stare at her before I am hit full in the face with a jet of nice warm arterial blood. Oh Fuck. For the uninitiated most wounds don’t tend to spurt all over the place like they do in the movies. The exception is a cut or break in a major artery. Put a hole in one of those and the blood will hit the ceiling in most rooms, and probably the far wall as well. Severing the femoral artery that runs through your leg is one of the quickest ways to bleed out. If nothing is done you will be dead in 5 minutes. You are literally a little closer to death every time your heart beats and forces more blood out of the wound. And as it does so it tries to maintain blood pressure by, you’ve guessed it boys and girls, beating faster.

So, the pressure was well and truly on, as it were. With a hysterical Spanish girl screaming at us Alain and I spin the guy around so that his head is down the slope, lift the knackered leg up and get a tourniquet onto the top of his thigh in record time. Tourniquets are not ideal but this at least stops the geysers of blood going in our faces as we rip the guys trouser leg open to the groin and Alain starts slapping pressure bandages on to the really quite small holes that are still farting out a worrying amount of blood.

Here is where nature gave us an extremely welcome helping hand. It can get really rather cold in the mountains, especially in eastern Canada. And by cold I mean about -25 degrees on that day. Not many exposed liquids remain unfrozen for long in those temperatures and that includes blood. The bandages helped contain the bleeding and as blood seeped through it started to help its unfortunate owner as well by freezing into the bandage. We added cold water to this to speed things up and I made the scramble call to the medevac guys in town as Alain got a line in the guys arm to get some plasma into him. The chopper was with us in less than ten minutes and we bundled the guy into a stretcher and piled snow up around his leg to keep the freeze effect going. Then off they soared into the wild blue yonder.

The guy made it. He’d ripped the artery rather than severed it and they patched him up good and proper.

Alain and I tidied up our kit, all the time looking at the huge sprays of blood over the slope and then skied into town. We arrived at the bottom and the first thing that happened was a toddler saw us and started bawling her eyes out. Then a lifty came sprinting over and asked us if we were ok. Non-plussed I looked at Alain who gestured to the hut next to us and in the window I could see why people were a tad concerned. Our reflections showed us to be covered in blood. And by that I mean it looked like we’d been for a bath in the stuff. And then all of a sudden I could smell it and taste it and feel it on my skin and in my hair. A shower couldn’t come quick enough. Followed by a full set of blood tests (my own this time) to make sure our wounded protagonist hadn’t given me something nasty. Then lots and lots of beers to toast another day on the hill.

Not a funny this one but a worthy contender I hope.

Length? About 120cm long, covered in claret with a handle at one end and a spike at the other.
(, Thu 14 Aug 2008, 11:54, 10 replies)
Bloody hell!
That's quite the story. Damned nice work all round for saving that guys life. Those beers should have tasted fantastic having earned them in that way.

Wonder what the hell he was doing to end up impaled on a ski pole to begin with. The mind boggles.

If this doesn't make it to the best of page, I'll buy a hat, and eat it.
(, Thu 14 Aug 2008, 12:09, closed)
Great story
And you get a clicky mate because its obvious you saved this guys life.
Its things like this that puts into perspective just how unimportant our office jobs really are.
(, Thu 14 Aug 2008, 12:09, closed)

You get a click for a well written story!

(, Thu 14 Aug 2008, 12:11, closed)
Good work, you saved his life.
Though I have to admit to laughing at the bit when the girl stupidly thought she had to pull the pole out.
(, Thu 14 Aug 2008, 12:12, closed)
*click* for all of the above reasons. Fair play to ya!
(, Thu 14 Aug 2008, 12:15, closed)
That's what I call a day's work
Blimey, mate, what a story - and also I'd like to add my congrats on saving that guy's life.

Just done a first aid course at work and the instructor told us NEVER to use a tourniquet, which I was a little dubious about - "Not even if someone's bleeding to death?" "No". Your story backs up what I think - I know tourniquets raise issues of tissue damage due to lack of circulation etc, but I figure it is preferable to death.

Best story on this topic, for sure.
(, Thu 14 Aug 2008, 12:30, closed)
Holey moley
Just when you think it can't get any worse than someone with a pole stuck through his leg, some dopey bugger then goes and rips the fucker out.

Good work. I'd like to think I would have handled it so well, yet know there's no way in the world I would have.

(, Thu 14 Aug 2008, 12:31, closed)
Top work on your and your colleague's part.
It was bad enough as it was but after that stupid cunt pulled the thing out... Crikey, why did she do that?
(, Thu 14 Aug 2008, 12:41, closed)
I winced when reading she pulled it out. They should drill it in to kids that you never pull out anything plugging the blood!

Drill was probably a bad choice of words in this topic.
(, Thu 14 Aug 2008, 12:44, closed)
Good story that man
This for the win... might be a bit late tho. Have a click anyway!
(, Thu 14 Aug 2008, 13:47, closed)

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