Broken Femur – Carrying the Stress

[We] took your Wilderness First Aid course back in May of 2011 as we live on a sailboat and travel to remote places.

This fall [2012] we were hiking in Newfoundland when John slipped on some wet wood stairs, flew up in the air, and landed on a tree stump on his left leg, breaking his femur just below the hip joint. Because of taking your course, we both knew what the injury was and how to stabilize it. We also knew how scared we should be! We were thankfully within cellphone range so I was able to call for help. Just as you said, we knew more than anyone on the scene except those who had also taken a wilderness first aid course.

In our case, we were lucky, as the people on the ground were great, including the RCMP officer who was wilderness trained and a wonderful guy. Unfortunately, for whatever reason we haven’t been able to ascertain, despite the pleas of everyone on the scene, Eastern Health wouldn’t send a chopper, and so John had to be carried out. It was 4.5 hours from the fall to reaching the ambulance and then another hour to the hospital. All without pain killers (our big mistake, not carrying any pain meds in our first aid kit). Needless to say, it was one of the more stressful times in our lives.

If you wish to read more, see John’s 2-part writeup of it on our site.

The surgeon said John’s injury was basically a high velocity motorcycle accident injury and so he is now the proud owner of a lot of titanium. Now, over 3 months later, he’s just starting to move to a cane from a walker. Who knew the rehab would take so long! But he has a good physio and things are seemingly progressing as they should.

In a nutshell, I’m writing to say thank you for a great course. We were able to analyze the situation, take the appropriate steps, deal with the rescuers, all while staying as calm as possible. Those stressful scenarios you set up for us in the woods prepared us for the real thing! Thank you.

Phyllis Nickel & John Harries
Attainable Adventure Cruising Ltd

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