A climbing party can sometimes evacuate an ill or injured party member with no outside help. If the injured person can walk and the injuries are relatively minor, a lightened pack and moral support may be all that is needed. The party also may be able to evacuate a climber who has minor but disabling injuries such as a sprained ankle or injured knee.
An injured person generally benefits from a period of rest following an accident. Because the further trauma of immediate evacuation is seldom justified, postpone the move until the victim's condition has stabilized. The injured person can probably offer the best indications of when to begin the evacuation. Consult the victim and monitor the injuries closely, before and during the evacuation, and always keep the person's comfort in mind.
Some medical conditions require immediate evacuation: pulmonary edema, cerebral edema, unconsciousness for unknown cause, diabetic coma, and progressively deteriorating conditions such as appendicitis. Immediate evacuation also is necessary if circumstances of weather or terrain are life-threatening. Certain other conditions require that evacuation be delayed until trained medical help arrives (unless it will be more than 24 hours): head injuries, neck and spinal fractures, heart attack, apoplexy (stroke), and internal injuries. Evacuation is required but not urgent for all other serious injuries and illnesses.
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