|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – September 2011
Use these three assessment tools to examine every patient thoroughly after you've stopped any immediate threats to life. Trauma victims are more common in the backcountry; start your inspection with a head-to-toe exam. For ill patients, begin by asking about medical history and taking vitals.
>> Methodically apply pressure to all bones, move major joints, and check skin condition on each body part.
>> Express confidence and communicate what you’re doing at each step.
>> Use a firm touch—like squeezing an avocado—to locate wounds, swelling, painful regions,
>> Use all of your senses: Look, listen, feel, and smell for abnormalities.
>> Complete a full-body assessment before treating any non-life-threatening injuries (you don’t want to miss something now that could become a big problem later).
>> Waste time and resources treating the first-identified injuries. Painful or obvious injuries may be superficial or less important than subtler ones.
>> Appear awkward, or communicate your own discomfort to the patient.
>> Use a tentative, light touch,
which may not uncover deformities, swelling, or other incident-related abnormalities.
>> Overlook medical history clues in pockets, packs, or on the victim (ID tags, insulin pumps, scars, etc.).
Follow this order so you don’t miss a thing: (1) Head, neck, face; (2) clavicle, shoulders, chest/ribs; (3) abdomen, pelvis, groin; (4) lower extremities; (5) upper extremities; (6) back, buttocks, flanks.