Tractions Splints in Wilderness Medicine

Femur fractures are serious injuries that usually occur as the result of significant forces. A full assessment, focusing on critical system problems and their stabilization is the crucial first step.

Effective stabilization of femur injuries will help alleviate pain and decrease the possibility of complications. I believe that either a vacuum splint or good padding in a stable carrying device does a good job of providing both.

Although there is no literature supporting their efficacy in the prehospital setting, a commercial traction splint can be a useful tool when applied by a skilled practitioner who receives periodic training on a particular device and/or uses it during rescues or EMS calls. They should not be left on for a prolonged period of time (e.g., greater than 2 hours) unless limb neurovascular integrity and splint tension can be monitored properly and regularly.

Regardless, these are painful injuries. All require the administration of analgesics.



Q: Can a group of field researchers trained in basic first aid be permitted to have an epipen in a first aid kit?

Q: Can a group of field researchers, certified in basic first aid, be allowed to have an epipen in a first aid kit at the location. There are no individuals with known allergies or prescription for epipen, but they will be in a remote location (2-6 hrs from emergency medical services.



Q: What do you think about the King Airway and do you think Wilderness First Responders could/should be certified to use them?

Could/should Wilderness First Responders be certified to use the King Airway? Could be, yes; should be, no. The limited time available in a WFR course are better spent on more relevant and practical topics and skills.