By A.P. Crawford, National Publication Editor and Production Manager (email@example.com)
In March 2022, a group of patrollers from the CSP and the Lake Louise Ski Resort (LLSR) patrol staff worked together to save the life of an injured patron on the slopes. Here is their story.
At approximately 3 p.m., dispatch radioed an incident report and indicated that some bleeding was involved. Darryl Aarbo (CSP) was first on the scene and found the patient lying on the ground in a high-traffic groomed area where several runs merged near the Top of the World chairlift base area. The weather was cool and clear, and the runs were icy, increasing the potential for further injury from out-of-control skiers/boarders entering the lift area. There was a small crowd around the patient, including several panicked friends. Upon approach, Darryl noted significant blood on the patient’s upper left thigh and one friend trying to stop the bleeding. Donning his PPE, Darryl applied direct pressure with pads to the wound and called for assistance and a tourniquet due to the extent of the bleeding.
Kristian Ogle (LLSR patrol) arrived with the tourniquet, which was then applied, while Darryl continued to apply pressure. The tourniquet caused the patient extreme pain, but it helped stem most of the bleeding. As this occurred, Sean O’Leary (LLSR patrol supervisor) arrived to take command of the scene and relay information over the radio while Darryl and Kristian concentrated on treating the patient. They also had to support the panicked and scared friends at the scene. Immediately before transport, a second tourniquet was required and applied.
Misha Paule (LSSR patrol) arrived with the toboggan and the patient was transported to the Whiskey infirmary at the base as quickly as possible. Darryl accompanied Misha and the patient while Kristian and Sean dealt with the extensive scene cleanup, cared for and supported the friends and continued to conduct crowd control.
At the base, Zach Pecore (LSSR patrol), Zacharie Skoko (CSP) and Eleanor Culver (CSP) moved the patient inside and continued treatment. The patient had lost considerable blood, and was showing signs of shock and moving in and out of consciousness. While in the infirmary, the level of bleeding increased again, so additional pads and pressure were applied. Darryl helped to remove the patient’s clothing to assess the injury more accurately, while Misha and Zacharie continued to monitor and report vital signs.
Fortunately, EMS was already en route to pick up another seriously injured patron, so the wait was reduced to 15 minutes from the time of arrival at the infirmary. EMS applied a third tourniquet, anti-clot powder and stuffed the wound with gauze, efforts that finally staunched the bleeding. The patient was transported by ambulance to Mineral Springs Hospital in Banff, 45 minutes away, and then flown by STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society) air ambulance to Calgary’s Foothills Trauma Centre.
The patient had sustained a six-inch outer mid-shaft thigh laceration down to the bone and managed to sever three arteries in the process, leading to significant blood loss, shock and lowered level of consciousness. Thanks to the diligent work of this team, the patient survived the event and contacted LLSR snow safety two days later to thank everyone for their actions and quick response. By then, he had already completed one physiotherapy session and taken his first few steps. He anticipated that it would take six months to recover fully.
In recognition of their actions and teamwork, Darryl Aarbo, Zacharie Skoko, Eleanor Culver (CSP patrollers) and Kristian Ogle, Sean O’Leary, Misha Paule, and Zach Pecore (LLSR patrol staff) were awarded the John D. Harper Lifesaving Award in 2022.
This post is also available in: Français