One of the most challenging aspects of wilderness medicine is patient transportation. Terrain, lack of personnel, minimal equipment, weather, safety concerns, and patient condition are all factors that can complicate extraction out of the wilderness to definitive care. If a helicopter or other mechanical transportation is not available, extraction times can extend into many hours, even days. But creativity and awareness can carry a long way.
First and foremost, self evacuation and the best kind of evacuation. It is preferable if a person can evacuate themselves under their own will power safely and without causing further harm to themselves. This avoids unnecessary risk and resource deployment involved with larger evacuation operations.
Transportation in an austere environment becomes increasingly difficult when a patient can not walk, and even more challenging when full spinal immobilization is needed. Professional rescue teams often use a variety of specially designed litters to carrying a patient over terrain obstacles. Terrain obstacles might include steep cliff faces, boulder fields, cervasses, narrow canyons, and bodies of water.
The Rope Stretcher
2. Attach the rope ends along the each loop using clove hitches.
3. Thread any remaining rope through the loops. Poles or branches may be threaded through the loops for extra stability.
The Tarp Stretcher
2. Fold this ⅓ section over the pole. Place the other pole on top.
3. Fold the remaining ⅓ over this pole. The weight of your patient should hold the tarp into place
The Jacket Stretcher
2. Thread poles of branches through the sleeves.
3. For added stability, reinforce the stretcher with cross support.
The Duct Tape Stretcher
2. Create one long tape strap down the middle.
3. Create diagonal straps between each horizontal strap.