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View Poll Results: What suspected injuries have you had to manage at sea?
Head injuries 6 27.27%
Spinal injuries 0 0%
Internal bleeding 0 0%
Serious Illness 5 22.73%
Lacerations 11 50.00%
Burns 4 18.18%
Broken bones 11 50.00%
Other 6 27.27%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 22. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-08-2014, 18:46   #16
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Re: Poll. Serious injuries at sea

MY trip back from Mexico to Australia was fraught with serious illness. I caught bird flu in Mexico but decided after getting medication we would be better off at sea than staying ashore where the epidemic was in full swing. I was so ill after 5 days at sea my husband called a medical emergency and we got permission to anchor at the Socorro Islands for 5 days while I recouperated. I was pretty run down for the trip to the Marquesas but celebrated by having lunch out when we arrived in Nuka Hiva. I got bitten by mosquitos and was again very sick by the time we arrived in the Tuamotus. Several doctor visits later we had to cut short our stay in the Tuamotus and head directly for Tahiti so I could have blood analysis carried out. I had contracted dengue fever. My Australian travel insurer was terrific and nurses rang me every second day to see how I was progressing. They suggested that I stay in Tahiti until my blood work was at a certain level before continueing to cruise to more remote places. Pathology was very expensive in Tahiti and I had a series of 4 tests but all were 100% paid for by Mondial Insurance. It was very distressing to get bitten during the day as we always take such careful precautions against mosquito bites, sunburn etc, but I guess my body's resistance was so low after the flu. It was very reassuring to know our offshore insurance was worthwhile and paid the bills without quibbling.

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Old 08-08-2014, 05:45   #17
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Re: Poll. Serious injuries at sea

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Originally Posted by sapient sue View Post
MY trip back from Mexico to Australia was fraught with serious illness.(snip)
Hi Sue, sounds like a nightmare. It must have been hard on everybody on the boat. I think thats another big issue, as soon as someone gets sick or injured not only do you have to look after them, but you also have to keep running the boat, while short of one person. The mental worry is another strain. It takes it's toll.

We had a bad case of flu go though a square rigger I was mate on. At one point more than half of the 30 odd people on board where very sick. I remember burning up with a very high fever, in that stage of partial hallucinations and missing one watch. I did a couple of watches when I was as sick as a dog, shivering in the lee of the Turtle back. At one point we barely had enough crew left to steer, let alone handle sails. fortunately the wind was steady, and the flu was short lived, and by the time we approached NZ we where back to full strength. but it sure gave me an appreciation for those old timers with scurvy ravaging the ship.

Anyway thanks for the input.

Cheers

Ben
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:38   #18
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Re: Poll. Serious injuries at sea

Had a crew member rip off his right pointer finger at the hand joint in an anchor windlass while in a remote area of British Columbia. I bandaged the wound and stopped the bleeding. Picked up the finger, bagged it and put it on ice. It took about 2 hours to get to a town with a clinic. There was some signs of shock. Keeping the crew engaged and focused helped. He was flown out to a big hospital with his finger a nice carry container, but the finger could not be reattached. Gory details omitted.
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Old 08-08-2014, 10:25   #19
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Re: Poll. Serious injuries at sea

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Originally Posted by Hannah on 'Rita T' View Post
We almost always have an injury on passage, someone gets thrown somewhere. Broken ribs, etc. are almost the norm. Luckily the captain is an EMT so can sort out injuries pretty well. All of the outcomes have been good. The major change we have made is to be more careful about using a strap in the galley. We carry a lot of QuikClot for lacerations and a one-handed tourniquet. We also have second skin and burn meds at the galley. We had a case of chikungunya on passage this spring, analgesics and fluids. WE also carry a wide selection of antibiotics for infections.
Hannah, I am not being a wise ass when I say this, but sounds like you need a new lifestyle. I don't think it's a matter of experience here, but rather the sea is bucking you like a bronco that refuses to be broken...i mean getting back on the horse is always important, but after a while you give up on that horse and get another.

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Old 08-08-2014, 15:55   #20
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Re: Poll. Serious injuries at sea

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Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
Had a crew member rip off his right pointer finger at the hand joint in an anchor windlass while in a remote area of British Columbia. I bandaged the wound and stopped the bleeding. Picked up the finger, bagged it and put it on ice. It took about 2 hours to get to a town with a clinic. There was some signs of shock. Keeping the crew engaged and focused helped. He was flown out to a big hospital with his finger a nice carry container, but the finger could not be reattached. Gory details omitted.
Ouch.. Sparing gory details how did he manage to do that? Any advice on how to avoid in the future?
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Old 08-08-2014, 16:41   #21
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Re: Poll. Serious Injuries at Sea

While cruising BVI we had a young kid dive face first into the water with a full face scuba mask on....glass broke and slashed his face up pretty nicely. No real damage, mostly a scared little boy was the worst of it.
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Old 08-08-2014, 16:46   #22
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Re: Poll. Serious injuries at sea

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Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
Ouch.. Sparing gory details how did he manage to do that? Any advice on how to avoid in the future?
I now handle the windlass in almost all cases on my boat. He was rushing and pressed the wrong direction button. A split second of inattention. On that boat I had deck switches. I now use a hand controller. Arguably a little safer.
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Old 08-08-2014, 17:13   #23
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Re: Poll. Serious Injuries at Sea

^^Thanks Paul. Another quick question. Why was his hand near the windlass? Certainly shows some issues with foot switches. I guess the same thing could happen with helm mounted switches, just lean on them by mistake and chomp chomp... Cheers

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Old 08-08-2014, 17:45   #24
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Re: Poll. Serious Injuries at Sea

Snowpetral, your story of the lady being thrown out of an upper bunk reminds me of why I consider pilot berths to be a very unseaworthy addition to a boat. In truly bad weather, you are safer sleeping on the cabin sole, than way up in a pilot berth. Pilot berths were for the purpose of putting the max number of pilots on a small heavy double ender, so the company made the most bucks. Safety was secondary to profits. Fatigue is probably the greatest contributor to injuries at sea,and bad weather , or breakdowns cause much of the fatigue. Unless you have a reasonably large crew that are all experienced, you should not cross oceans without a mechanical windvane. I know that this will cause much debate, but when everything goes to hell, a wind vane is more important than an auto pilot. LET THE ARGUMENTS BEGIN. _____Grant.
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Old 08-08-2014, 19:11   #25
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Re: Poll. Serious Injuries at Sea

First off, no "major" events have occurred to us in all our years of cruising. One time I tripped on my harness tether,and did a header down the companionway, but all that resulted were bruises, fortunately.

Had a snap hook fail and fell from settee berth to cabin sole, bruises only. Replaced hook with line.

The scariest illness was *only* flu (the Victoria A strain). On our second day of a trip from Opua (NZ) to Fiji, we both were surprised to become "seasick". It wasn't until we started running at both ends, and became feverish that we realized it must be something else. We were so sick no one could even keep watch, for 2, maybe three days. We were hove to, with the anchor light on, entirely occupied with being sick, and finally Jim started to get better. He went up and had a look around, one afternoon. Sometime after that, he decided to return to NZ**. It took what seemed to me a long time. I could not even keep water down, and we were concerned about dehydration.

I believe the decision to heave to was the only possible one in the circumstances. There are only two aboard, and both were non-functional. Landlubbers often ask, "Have you ever been frightened at sea?" The answer is yes, and that was the scariest thing that ever happened to me: both of us helpless together.

** [There were no problems with Customs or Immigration. They allowed us to remain in Opua until we were well enough to return to sea, about 2 weeks.]

Ann
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Old 08-08-2014, 20:32   #26
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Re: Poll. Serious injuries at sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Beth cracked a rib in a N Atlantic gale. Thrown against a galley counter top/fiddle.
Hi Evans, would love to know more about how this happened, was it on silk or hawk, did she fall against a corner? could it have been avoided with more handholds or better design? Cheers, and thanks for the input. It's very valuable getting feedback from those with a lot of miles as well, even if the injuries are not so major.
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Old 08-08-2014, 20:40   #27
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Re: Poll. Serious Injuries at Sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
First off, no "major" events have occurred to us in all our years of cruising. One time I tripped on my harness tether,and did a header down the companionway, but all that resulted were bruises, fortunately.

Had a snap hook fail and fell from settee berth to cabin sole, bruises only. Replaced hook with line.

The scariest illness was *only* flu (the Victoria A strain). On our second day of a trip from Opua (NZ) to Fiji, we both were surprised to become "seasick". It wasn't until we started running at both ends, and became feverish that we realized it must be something else. We were so sick no one could even keep watch, for 2, maybe three days. We were hove to, with the anchor light on, entirely occupied with being sick.. (snip)

Ann
Thanks Ann, looks like another leecloth failure? lucky it wasn't serous in your case.

Falling down the companionway, amazing it doesn't seem to cause more injuries. I guess we are pretty good at protecting bodies in a more normal fall. Maybe It's the unexpected suddenness of being thrown across the cabin that causes more problems?

The flu sounded nasty... A good example of how heaving too can be a life saving skill. I guess with bigger crews the chances of simultaneous infection are less, and hopefully some crew come right as others succumb?

Again it's good to hear that in with all your sailing nothing too terrible has happened. It provides some good perspective.

Cheers

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Old 08-08-2014, 21:04   #28
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Re: Poll. Serious Injuries at Sea

had a crew with a burst stomach ulcer on a short delivery,with internal bleeding,got him to hospital the following morning after a very rough passage bvi to sxm..

a crew with a dislocated shoulder in chagos found a flat surface and pulled it back in.

my self and a crew with malaria on an 18 day passage of of somalia on the way to the red sea,treated with fansidar.

a crew with severe seasickness,leading to dehydration,fortunately we had saline drip onboard.

infected coral cuts in remote atolls,treated with antibiotics.

cooking injuries,cuts +burns.

fished quite a few people out the water in various ports and given cpr....most lived.

had a girl have a blood clot in her brain in aden the day we arrived,flew her out.

had another girl who had a misscarridge

done lots of stiches to random crew and our kids falling over and banging heads,knees etc

treated girl crew with cystytis

treated boy crew with nsu!

lots more!
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Old 08-08-2014, 21:40   #29
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Re: Poll. Serious Injuries at Sea

TYPE/CAUSE
Complete amputation below the knee of left leg caused by a 2" stranded tow line suddenly under load that whipped across the aft deck where crewman was standing in the bight of the line

DETAILS
Crewman was standing on port side of the aft deck (fantail) of towboat facing astern as I tightened up on winch brake causing the towline to harden up on the port side about 30 degrees off center due to the skipper trying to swing the direction of the log boom to port. Crewman had been warned 3-4 times to stand clear of the bight by myself and the skipper and did move but returned to his original position facing aft. His position was obscured from the winch tending position by the engine room access hatch which stood about 8 feet above the deck and the ice chest which obscured his position from the wheelhouse looking aft.
INITIAL ATTENTION
Immediate tourniquet just below the knee with a piece of line tightened with a large spanner. Eased off the tourniqet every 20 minutes. Placed the amputated foot on the ice block in the ice chest and covered with a wet towel soaked in fresh water. Left the boot on the amputated foot.
Dropped the tow and headed ashore to dock about 1/2 hour away... en route, called ambulance on VHF to meet us there. Crewman went into shock, placed him in wheelhouse bunk with pillow under stump and good leg, covered with a couple of blankets after wrapping stump in damp towel soaked in fresh water. Placed dry towel under stump to soak up blood as we released tourniquet.
Ambulance placed him on backboard with 02 and transported him to hospital. Elapsed time from accident to hospital about 1 1/2 hours.
Forgot to give the ambulance the foot so took it ourselves to the hospital on the ice block by taxi about 15 minutes after ambulance left.
LONG TERM CARE/OUTCOME
Unable to re-attach foot but saved knee joint and was fitted with prosthetic... 6 months in hospital and rehab. Another year in rehab learning how to walk with prosthetic and upgrade.
CAUSE
Inattention, inexperience, engine noise may have compromised crewman hearing directions/warnings, need to get tow out of where it was to make the tide. Inquiry found no fault to either skipper or myself.
PREVENTION
Always maintain high awareness of lines under load, don't stand in the bight of any slack line, maintain highest level of communication possible, take responsibility for others as well as yourself when aboard, always know where everbody is when getting underway.
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Old 08-08-2014, 23:28   #30
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Re: Poll. Serious Injuries at Sea

Apart from various people succumbing to seasickness ( which can become serious) the only accident I've had had the potential for serious injury but I escaped only shaken. In a big sea, I strapped myself to the stove with the safety strap. I was taking my weight on it when it broke and I flew across the cabin into the chart table. Prevention - check all safety gear from time to time.
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