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June 22, 2011

Breaking news from Dixville Notch
Posted by Teresa at 11:00 PM *

We have a video taken this afternoon in the North Country showing some of that “fast and efficient EMS” action we periodically hear about. The reporter is Charlie Jordan, whom I’ve met. As he reported it in the online version of the Colebrook Chronicle:

On Wednesday morning, around 11:30 a.m., Jennifer Tate, 30, of Nashua, was seriously injured at the Cascade Brook Trail in Dixville Notch after she fell some 30-60 feet down a ravine. The ground reportedly had collapsed under her while she was taking a picture from on top of the gorge. By mid-afternoon, she was rescued through the coordinated efforts of many rescue and emergency personnel who had responded to the remote scene. Due to the incline where she fell, the rescue was very technical, but crews were able to get Tate up the side of the cliff and onto a stokes litter before bringing her down the trail to the 45th Parallel EMS ambulance.Tate was driven a short distance down Route 26 to a waiting DHART helicopter and flown directly to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon. Sgt. Wayne Saunders of the N.H. Fish and Game explained that the technicial rescue was a vertical raise up the side of the gorge. Conservation Officer Geoffrey Younglove, with the Fish and Game Search and Rescue, said that Tate received multiple injuries in her fall.

Two hikers who were also on the trail assisted Tate after her fall. Dan Webster said that he was able to hike down into the gorge to stay with Tate while his wife called for help. Responding to the scene of the rescue were the 45th Parallel EMS, the Colebrook Fire and Rescue, the Beecher Falls Vol. Fire Dept. special ops crew, a professional ropes crew from Camp E-Toh-Anee, the N.H. Fish and Game and Search and Rescue units, and DHART.

Jim Macdonald was Scene Command at the top of the cliff, and Trail Command on the carryout. You can see him starting around 0:44, at the far right of the screen. He’s the worried-looking older guy in the red turtleneck. Starting around 1:28 he’s visible again from the back. He’s the rearmost guy on the right helping to carry the patient to the nearest road.

Jim’s commentary in chat:

The folks rigging the ropes were the High Angle Rescue Team from Beecher Falls and the rappelling instructor from Camp E-Toh-Anee.
Louie and Arthur were the team at the bottom of the cliff. They’d walked up the gorge, which included climbing a waterfall to get there.
At 1:22 you can get a view of the falls that Louie and Arthur climbed to get to her.
Here: Photo on left.
On the foot of the stretcher we have Louie (on the left) and Jason on the right. Behind Jason is Morgan. Behind Louie is one of the Colebrook firefighters.
The two guys behind that are two more Colebrook firefighters. In the maroon shirt is the guy whose job was Patient’s Buddy. Then in the helmet is Brian, who was one of the people who rappelled in to pick her up.
A young lady having a very bad day, but not as bad as it could have been.
The orange blanket the young lady is wrapped in is a thermal blanket from my kit.
So now you know who everyone is.
I do appear in some of the video footage. I’m wearing a red turtleneck.
TNH: Around 0:44, at the far right of the screen, looking worried.
Jim: Yep, that would be me.
At that point, though, the medical care had been turned over to the DHART crew, a paramedic and a flight nurse.
It was quite steep. When you see the helicopter taking off, the hills in the background … she was way up on one of those.
Wayne Saunders, the Fish and Game officer, is a friend of mine. We’ve been on a lot of calls together.
He was the one who was shot in the chest by Drega, where his badge saved his life. His badge was driven into his chest and stuck there. Had to cut around it to get his shirt off.
The entire operation took a while. It was pretty rugged terrain.
The civilian held c-spine on her until Louie and Arthur arrived. The fall was well over 30 feet.
Louie is the fellow who shot the bear in your freezer.
… Lookit this, we made the Washington Post:
Union Leader:
TNH: Hah! The AP version has to be lifted from Charlie Jordan’s, but they have a note at the bottom saying they own the story.
Jim: And that it can’t be re-written, etc.
They weren’t there. Charlie was.
I had a quiet afternoon, myself. But if I ever fall down a ravine and have to be hauled out on a Stryker frame by a technical ropes crew, I’ll hope Jim is there.
Comments on Breaking news from Dixville Notch:
#1 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 12:24 AM:

I made an attempt to participate in one of these a month or so back when our youngest yanked me off the path up from Union Dam on the Patapsco. Fortunately I was able to keep from rolling all the way down the hill, and the snapping sound turned out not to be my glasses. BUt I now have a nice scar by my left eye.

#2 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 12:50 AM:

I have to ask, because someone must - what was the bear doing in your freezer? (Blame Groucho.)

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 12:59 AM:

Clifton, ever since Jim typed that line at me, I've been trying to figure it out: How did a small tough French-Canadian EMS from the White Mountains come to shoot a bear in my freezer?

He was very tidy about it. All that was left when he was done was some bear meat wrapped up in white butcher paper.

#4 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 01:00 AM:

Always good to know what the people around ML are doing for their summer vacations, yes indeed.

Thank you, Jim.

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 01:03 AM:

I love Flickr. Here we are looking down at the watercourse from a section of the hiking trail. The distance isn't great enough, but the adjacent photostream gives you a good idea of the local terrain.

#6 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 04:33 AM:

*doffs hat respectfully*

#7 ::: Matt ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 08:11 AM:

He'd tracked it for months; through verdant forest, over jagged cliffs, across the asphalt jungle. In the final moments, the bear sign all along Flatbush (forgive me, I can't remember where exactly you guys live) lead him to a cold, metallic cave where the ursid was snacking on Gorton's Fillets and making a terrible mess.

Something like that, I think.

#8 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 08:57 AM:

What does bear taste like?

And does it depend, as C.S. Lewis says, on what it has been eating recently?

#9 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 09:20 AM:

Jo #8: The taste of all meat is affected by what the animal has been eating. There is a difference between grass-fed and grain-fed cattle, for example, and not just because grass-fed is leaner.

I've no idea what bear tastes like.

#10 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 09:46 AM:

I suppose you could tell where you are by what bear tastes like. Seal? You're in the arctic (and the bear is white). Slapped salmon? You're in the Northwest. Pic-a-nic basket? Jellystone Park.

#11 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 09:59 AM:

Here in the UK, most rescue services are full-time professionals. Some Doctors do extra training to provide back-up at road accidents and the like.

The two big volunteer groups are the RNLI, who do have a few full-time lifeboat crews, and Mountain Rescue teams. The Mountain Rescue teams in some places do have RAF involvement. It.s the Mountain Rescue teams who would be most familiar with that sort of operation

In at least one place, when the RNLI decided there was no longer any need for a lifeboat to be based there, went and bought their own.

And sometimes these rescues have involved a bright yellow helicopter flown by a Prince. Put that in a book and they'd never believe you.

#12 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 11:03 AM:

Dave Bell: In the USA, if you get lost out West, your rescuer could turn out to be Harrison Ford.

IIRC, he's a member of the Civil Air Patrol out there.

#13 ::: Walter Hawn ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 11:23 AM:

Regarding AP 'lifting' stories: The AP is a non-profit co-op and part of the agreement is that subscribers allow AP to copy and rewrite. The rewrite is copyright protected, just as is the original story. In recent years, AP has often, but not always, credited the original reporter(s) in its long-form rewrites. You seldom see credits of any sort on short pieces.

#14 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 12:19 PM:

Walter: I know. I'm out of charity with the AP on account of their absurd rights grab a while back, and their inexplicable attempt to ban rewrites.

#15 ::: Walter Hawn ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 12:40 PM:

Not to get all sidetracked, here, but... The 'inexplicable' is explained easily by the desire of AP and its members to keep the copy in the family. There were far too many cut-and-paste things going on the internet, leaving member papers w/o eyeballs. AP has never allowed non-members to copy or rewrite. As for the 'rights grab,' Indefensible, but understandable for a panicked organization..

#16 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 01:07 PM:

Very impressive job all around, and lucky for Ms. Tate that we have people like that willing and ready to do things like that.

It struck me as odd, though, that an EMS responder would give out, and a news outlet would subsequently publish, the victim's date of birth. Is that common practice, or just a slip-up by someone more used to reporting to the receiving hospital than to the media?

#17 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 06:06 PM:

The gentleman who gave the patient's name and date of birth on-air was a Fish and Game officer, not an EMT or firefighter.

#19 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 10:27 PM:

Jim: sorry, I'd missed that. That makes him a form of law enforcement, right? I'd still expect more awareness of privacy concerns from a law enforcement officer. I'm not outraged, or anything, just mildly surprised.

#20 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 07:50 AM:

Jeremy, he's a law enforcement officer who talks to hospitals a lot more often than he talks to the press.

#21 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 09:38 PM:

I have eaten bear. There was a time when I was married to a man whose father was a hunter of pretty much everything, and had the meat cut and wrapped for distribution to family members.

I don't even remember what it tasted like. All I remember is how it stuck to the roof of my mouth. And stuck. And stuck. I recalled that our pioneer forefathers used bear grease as axle grease, and I understood why.

I wouldn't do it again.

#22 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 10:17 PM:

Older: All I remember is how it stuck to the roof of my mouth. And stuck. And stuck. I recalled that our pioneer forefathers used bear grease as axle grease, and I understood why.

From what I've been told, that's the reason McCleary does stew: to cut the grease.

#23 ::: Laura Runkle ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 12:14 AM:

Jo Walton @8. It does depend on what the bear's been eating. I've had bear once, at a game feed. It was clearly both omnivorous and male, as it had boar taint worse than the wild boar I'd eaten at another game feed. Because of that once, I'd rather not eat it again, unless it were a young bear. This one was a bear from Alaska, and fish had clearly been a prominent part of its diet at some time or other. Just as pork fed more than just grass sometimes has a strong sweet taste, so did the bear, but the fish, other stuff, and boar taint really made it not to my taste. "Gamy" can be anything from grass-fed elk to squirrel to raccoon. The bear was just out there. Perhaps a bear that did nuts and grubs and moths would be less so.

#25 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 08:22 PM:

Good to hear that people like these are on the job. I wish they had been present a couple weeks back when I went for a doctor's appointment at the professional building next door to the local hospital. As I finished crossing the parking lot, I heard this *splat* up ahead, and saw that a woman had done a faceplant on the sidewalk next to the building. A couple ran up and the man asked if she was all right, and the woman ran off to get help. Well, she wasn't all right--couldn't talk clearly, couldn't get up, and then I saw that she was bleeding from her nose. The man called 911. Well, in the 10 minutes I was there, 911 didn't show up. And neither did a bunch of medics with stretchers, only a nurse with some towels, who said she couldn't find a wheelchair. I could not do anything but stand there and say that help was on the way, which I probably couldn't make very convincing. And we were right next door to the hospital.
The prof. bldg. was not well marked/numbered, and I don't think any of us patients had its full name memorized. After the nurse came with the towels I figured I was not needed, so went on my way.
I guess the situation was taken care of when I was done, I didn't check, but when I came back next week for another appointment, there was still a spot on the sidewalk.
I didn't have a cellphone, and I just might go and get one after that, but I wonder how many besides me have trouble naming all the buildings and streets we see every day, let alone occasionally, phone or no phone. I thought 911 could zero in on cell phones but I guess not all phones have that capability.
I guess if I am out and start feeling unwell I should just head for a ravine...

#26 ::: Ron Sullivan ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 09:43 PM:

RE: Angiportus' story: We were on our way back to Berkeley from a friend's place in Sunnyvale, California, when the !Check Engine! light came on. That had never happened before, so I got alarmed, pulled off the Lawrence Expressway, and called AAA.

The operator asked what town we were in. We couldn't answer. We'd been crossing the city limits of San Jose, Sunnyvale, I think Mountain View, and probably into some parts of unincorporated Santa Clara County all day, and the expressway meanders through some parts of Idunno how many of those, and they're all pretty much indistinguishable, just Silicon Valley sprawl as far as I can tell.

Made for some confused conversation, of course further confounded by patchy cellphone signal and call-center background noise. The call center was most likely nowhere near Northern California.

(Fortunately, AAA took better care of us than whoever was supposed to be on the job in Angiportus' town, and the problem was probably just a not-tight-enough gas cap. The nice young man in the big yellow truck was able to find us by street and strip-mall restaurant names.)

I still don't know for sure where we were, technically.

#27 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 04:41 PM:

#13 Walter

AP claimed they were going to provide guidelines about allowable quoting. AP apparently has failed to do so. I am underwhelmed.

#28 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 04:51 PM:

If it is allowed, an update on the hiker's condition would be welcome.

#29 ::: Springtime for Spacers ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 08:07 PM:

Post 26 put me in mind of the terrible Hillsborough Football stadium disaster in the UK.

It's not mentioned in my link and my google skills have failed me in finding a cite but significant delay was caused by the then practice of the emergency services. They had recently changed to a national call centre and are heard repeatedly asking for the address from someone who only knows they are at "Hillsbrough football ground" and has no idea of the street name, let alone the address (it was an important quarter final and neither of the teams playing were local). You will see in the news report that the police were unaware of what was happeneing at the time the first emegeency calls were being made.

#30 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 09:46 PM:

Correct link in # 29 seems to be here.

#31 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 04:19 PM:

We'll probably never know how the young lady made out, unless we read it in the paper or she visits in person to tell us.

One of the hard parts of EMS is that you care intensely about a person for ten minutes, an hour, a day ... and never find out afterward what the ultimate outcome was.

#32 ::: Jennifer Tate ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 09:06 AM:

Jim I've been reading this chat and as a nurse I can understand the wonder of outcomes.....

1 broken neck, 1 concussion, 1 broken arm, 1 broken spleen, 1 messed up knee and numerous bumps, bruises and cuts. 6-8 weeks in a cervical collar and cast.

But I am here, fortunate to be alive, home and walking and its all thanks to the many individuals that responded to the trail that day. I hope to send out formal letters once I am able to write, but please send my love and appreciation to all involved. Its hard to find the words to say thank you. The collaboration and efforts of the teams saved my life. There are no words to describe my gratitude--all I can say is thank you!


#33 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 09:43 AM:

Jen, it's so wonderful to hear from you. When the call went out I honestly thought it was going to be a recovery operation rather than a rescue.

Thanks for hanging in there. You're pretty special.

I'll pass this along to the squad.

#34 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 03:19 PM:

On the question of what bear tastes like -- New Hampshire bears, at least, taste really good. Of course, they're black bears, not grizzlies, and their diet is mostly in the roots-and-grubs range, which may make a difference, as may the skill of the hunter who kills the bear and of the butcher who takes it through the transition from a whole animal to a lot of meat in little paper packages.

The rule of thumb, as I understand it, is to treat bear meat as though it were pork, and pork of the old school (when the lard was as important a product as the meat) at that. Bear meat makes good sausage, and chili, and meatloaf.

#35 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 03:28 PM:

Pork of the old school, as in "back when US pork was a serious carrier of trichinosis." Pork isn't, anymore, but I understand bears still can carry it in the wild.

#36 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 03:57 PM:

Jennifer Tate @32: Thanks for letting us all know! Best wishes for a full recovery.

#37 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 07:05 PM:

Xopher@35: Pork of the old school, as in "back when US pork was a serious carrier of trichinosis." Pork isn't, anymore, but I understand bears still can carry it in the wild.

That, too. Bears, like pigs, are by nature omnivores, with all the problems that implies. (The lean, trichinosis-free pigs of the current day are mostly the product of industrial hog farming, which comes with its own set of problems.)

#38 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 09:33 PM:

Ms. Tate herself, on WMUR.

With video.

It's been reported that the vertebra she broke was C-2.

#39 ::: Jennifer Tate ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2011, 09:11 PM:

It was C2 Jim--anterior with minimal displacement. Someone was on my side that day including a really good crew that maintained cervical cautions even while lifting me up a cliff :)

#40 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2011, 11:25 PM:

Jen! Good to see you back. It's been about eight weeks since your fall ... collar coming off soon? Brian was the person who stayed with you all the way up the cliff. He's a volunteer with Beecher Falls on their high-angle team, and a part-time EMT with the 45th. I'll tell him that you said hi.

If you're ever back up this way, drop by the station. We have coffee 24 hours a day.

And, I hope you find other things to delight you at Making Light. It's a friendly blog.

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