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Old 07-11-2008   #1
 
DENVER, Colorado
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Death on the Upper Colorado

My husband and I were rafting down the Colorado River on 6-20-08. We came across two men on the rocks one getting a dog and the other one standing on the bank on the other side. My husband spoke to the one on bank he said they were getting the dog and he lost his shoes. They did not need our help. We left them and went down to a camp site I'm not sure the name but it is close to the cabin with the sign about the history. We set up camp and because it was 95 out we went for a swim. As always we see debris floating my husband saw a life jacket. All in seconds I saw an elbow started screaming and fishermen down the river caught him just as I made it to him also. I started life support immediately. This was the same man we saw on the bank 20 minutes before without shoes. He was bleeding very badly from a wound on his eye. A raft guide from Cody Rafting Alex helped us put him in his raft left his 4 woman that he was guiding at our campsite and we headed down the river. Down the river we saw a group we asked them if they had lost anyone in their group. They said yes his name was "Justin". My husband and I continued with life support. I did get a pulse twice. He vomited and I thought I saw life in him. We arrived at Radium and the paramedics were called. We were still doing CPR. THIS IS WHERE I NEED TO VENT. The EMS arrived, stretched, looked around as if they were looking at scenery. They kept walking slowly around their ambulance looking for something (Probably their brains). I screamed to hurry up this wasn't their child lying here. I asked them for suction they could not find suction but said another ambulance was on the way. This one arrived and did not have the right adapter for the suction. I continued to breathe for "Justin". Although he was not breathing on his own he had good color and pink nail beds. The EMS tried to intubate three times. The tube was going into the stomach not the lungs. At that point the vocal cords swelled so I could no longer get a breath in Justin's lungs. Justin was blue at this point. I called the EMS crew a freak show and they asked me if I would like to continue myself? I screamed "I already am." Flight For Life came and took him to Denver where he was pronounced dead. Maybe he was dead when we found him, he did have a head injury but the incompentcy of this Eagle County EMS was atrocious. The Sheriff the next day said that there have been similar reports and they are fighting for better equip personnel. Please explain to me why they could not have flown a Flight copter to the cabin site? If they could not land then why could they not send down a basket? This is a river why is there not better recovery operations? As you can tell I'm very angry still I have written letters to almost everyone I can think of. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know. The coroner said that she also has heard complaints about the EMS. She said that Justin had a head injury. Although I did not know Justin Brindley he will always have an effect on me. One comment on a lighter note is that when Alex from Cody Rafting took us back down to our campsite to pick up his 4 woman he had left, they were drunk on our beer that we had for our 3 days on the river. It was 4-6 hours later that we arrived back down the river. I wonder if Alex had any clothes left by the time he arrived at Radium with these 40-50ish drunk woman.

[The following was added to this post]
EMS contacted us asking that we add a link to their response to this first post.
Click Here for EMS' response to "Death on the Upper Colorado"
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Old 07-11-2008   #2
 
caspermike's Avatar
 
Bozeman, Montana
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how about we play kiddie docter on those faggots. that pisses me off that we loose another boater because rescue personal can't get there dicks out of their hand. sounds like they gave up before they even arrived. ems personal address's please..........

RIP
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Old 07-11-2008   #3
 
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Steamboat, Colorado
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This is hard to believe when their job that they are paid to do is to be prepared to help save someone's life, act quickly, take over for any civilians who are doing the right thing (which is rare this day and age to begin with) themselves.

Condolences to the family, and I hope you can find peace with a tragic event like this, it sounds like you were the only ones actually trying.
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Old 07-11-2008   #4
 
DENVER, Colorado
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I would like to add that justin Brindley was 30 years old. He just graduated from C.U. of Boulder in June and was going to get married in Sept. Justin Brindley (1978 - 200 This is the link to his memorial web site. Thank you
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Old 07-11-2008   #5
 
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Boise, Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surgass01 View Post
All in seconds I saw an elbow started screaming and fishermen down the river caught him just as I made it to him also. I started life support immediately. This was the same man we saw on the bank 20 minutes before without shoes. He was bleeding very badly from a wound on his eye. A raft guide from Cody Rafting Alex helped us put him in his raft left his 4 woman that he was guiding at our campsite and we headed down the river. Down the river we saw a group we asked them if they had lost anyone in their group. They said yes his name was "Justin". My husband and I continued with life support. I did get a pulse twice. He vomited and I thought I saw life in him. We arrived at Radium and the paramedics were called. We were still doing CPR. THIS IS WHERE I NEED TO VENT. The EMS arrived, stretched, looked around as if they were looking at scenery. They kept walking slowly around their ambulance looking for something (Probably their brains). I screamed to hurry up this wasn't their child lying here. I asked them for suction they could not find suction but said another ambulance was on the way. This one arrived and did not have the right adapter for the suction. I continued to breathe for "Justin". Although he was not breathing on his own he had good color and pink nail beds. The EMS tried to intubate three times. The tube was going into the stomach not the lungs. At that point the vocal cords swelled so I could no longer get a breath in Justin's lungs. Justin was blue at this point. I called the EMS crew a freak show and they asked me if I would like to continue myself? I screamed "I already am." Flight For Life came and took him to Denver where he was pronounced dead. Maybe he was dead when we found him, he did have a head injury but the incompentcy of this Eagle County EMS was atrocious. The Sheriff the next day said that there have been similar reports and they are fighting for better equip personnel. Please explain to me why they could not have flown a Flight copter to the cabin site? If they could not land then why could they not send down a basket? This is a river why is there not better recovery operations? As you can tell I'm very angry still I have written letters to almost everyone I can think of. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know. The coroner said that she also has heard complaints about the EMS. She said that Justin had a head injury. Although I did not know Justin Brindley he will always have an effect on me.
Justin is my best friends brother. I don't know who you are,
but I know that his family would commend your efforts in trying to save their son.
We need more people like you around! What a TRAGEDY!!
Only reminds me why I am in the process of receiving my wilderness EMT...
sometimes the people dispatched for medical services are rather incompetent.
Quite ironic, but I've seen it in many situations over the years.

As I'm writing this I can't help but wish it had all turned out differently, and that Justin was still alive.
But I know that wherever he is, Justin is smiling down on us and wishing that his family would soon be able to smile as well.

Much Love,
Julie
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Old 07-11-2008   #6
 
DENVER, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 23
Thank you Julie. I have talked to the family and have received an E-mail from Justin's mother. I wish things could have turned out better. He will always have a place in my heart. I had 4 precious hours with him that I will never forget. Tell his sister I'm very sorry.
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Old 07-11-2008   #7
 
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Woodland Park, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
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What a bad situation. As for the basket haul the Military or National Guard are the only ones available to my knowledge. They are not an immediate 911 resource. The response time would be longer than taking him down, you guys did the right thing. Flight for life is not equip for hauling, they have to land. So if they have ground contact via radio have good latitude and longitude for getting them close, a ground contact familiar with landing zones, a 100 X 100 clear aria the right winds in the canyon etc. It would take someone savvy on the phone to order flight. This is a clear case of us having to rely on each other in bad situations, help is not just a phone call away. While human life is priceless we are putting ourselves in dangerous situations and cannot expect the majority pay for the minority for preparedness. As for the EMS crew ????? sounds messed up.
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Old 07-11-2008   #8
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
Join Date: May 2008
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A few things about your post. First, CPR on a raft doesn't do much good. Its a soft surface and most of the energy of your compressions is directed into the floor of the raft instead of into the person's chest. The fact that he still had good skin color at the takeout makes me think that he probably had a pulse all along but that you didn't detect it.

Second, I'm not trying to comment on the professionalism of Eagle County EMS, and I'm certainly not associated in any way with them, but you should consider a few things before judging them in the manner you did. It is a far better thing for any healthcare provider to handle a serious emergency like this with absolute calm. It is, after all, somebody else's emergency. Panicking and rushing causes people to make mistakes. Slowing down actually makes people more efficient, and more effective. While this may have been the first time you've seen someone in cardiac arrest, this was likely buisiness as usual for them. You may go to an office and write memos; they go to an ambulance and handle emergencies.

Third, intubation is an extremely difficult procedure. It can be made more difficult by head and neck injuries as well as by drowning related airway changes. Even experienced Emergency Room Physicians in busy city trauma centers, who practice this skill almost daily, sometimes fail to intubate a patient in multiple attempts.

Fourth, given that this person was suffering from a head injury and had possibly aspirated river water as well, he very likely would have died even had he been fished out of the water across the street from the Mayo clinic. Some injuries are just lethal, period.

I didn't mean to blast your post, but I thought you might want to consider some other things before condemning some well intentioned individuals.

Tom
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Old 07-11-2008   #9
 
DENVER, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 23
Tom First of all I have been an operating room nurse for 7 years and before that I worked in the E.R. Second this was not the first person I have seen in Cardiac Arrest. I hope as a nurse that I can tell if someone has a pulse or not since you learn this on the first day of school. I happen to know what a heart beat feels like believe it or not. As for not being able to do compressions in the raft I could feel a pulse in his femoral artery (that's his groin Tom) so I knew it was working. Wow you do know a lot about your stuff and by your response I can tell you are EMS. This explains it all. Don't you think competent EMS would know where they keep suction. Sorry but this was a joke. Oh by the way you should go read a memo, you obviously missed one.
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Old 07-11-2008   #10
 
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
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Posts: 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by surgass01 View Post
Tom First of all I have been an operating room nurse for 7 years and before that I worked in the E.R. Second this was not the first person I have seen in Cardiac Arrest. I hope as a nurse that I can tell if someone has a pulse or not since you learn this on the first day of school. I happen to know what a heart beat feels like believe it or not. As for not being able to do compressions in the raft I could feel a pulse in his femoral artery (that's his groin Tom) so I knew it was working. Wow you do know a lot about your stuff and by your response I can tell you are EMS. This explains it all. Don't you think competent EMS would know where they keep suction. Sorry but this was a joke. Oh by the way you should go read a memo, you obviously missed one.
I read Tom's post to largely suggest you try to see things from a different perspective, one other than your highly emotional response... which is justified by all means. Tom could have and should have been more tactful with his words. From reading your posts, it's clear to me that you have medical experience. I'm not sure Tom was challenging that, maybe he was. Regardless, I suggest you try to let your emotions cool before responding with or to criticism.

I commend your efforts to help another... and that's what we have to remember about this community. I believe it's in our nature to stop and help someone in trouble. Let's try to keep it cool like that and keep the respect level high.

Jason
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