On the 15th of January, SARZA Gauteng received a call for assistance from the MSAR Gauteng team. They were dealing with the rescue of a patient at Dome Pools in Magaliesburg, who they suspected had fractured their ankle. The patient was unable to walk and was in extreme pain when moved.
A patient carry out was the only option available to the team as a typical Gauteng thunderstorm had rolled into the area and no helicopters were available to assist. With approximately 5km to carry the patient over rough terrain in the rain and on heavily overgrown narrow paths – it was sure to be a tough night!
The team medics, were able to make the patient as comfortable as possible with some medication and sufficient splinting of the injured ankle. From there the patient was packaged into a vacuum mattress and basket stretcher for the long journey back to the car park. Down the treacherous slopes additional rigging was required to safely control the stretchers descent, and up the steep inclines an added hauling systems was installed to aid the progress and act as a backup for safety.
It was an incredible physical effort to cross the nearly 5km through rivers, over rocky terrain and up and down valleys in the rain, but after approximately 4,5 hours since the patient was packaged into the stretcher – the combined team made it to the parking lot with the patient in good spirits considering the pain he was in.
The patient was loaded into a vehicle and transported to hospital for further medical care. The teams eventually made it back to Johannesburg and their warm beds by about 01h00 the next morning.
The team was exhausted – but also elated to assist someone when they needed it most. Sometimes rescues are extremely difficult and the rescuers have to dig as deep as if they were running a marathon. This was one of those times….