Moved Mountains

Banner - Mt Trio, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia - (c) 2007

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Paintballing - Battlefield wounds

Andrew (left) & Sam, before the injury

WARNING: If you have a weak stomach, you might not want to look at the last photo posted below. It contains gore.

Alyssa and I took a bunch of young guys (16-19) paintballing yesterday in Dwellingup. We had never been before and I was looking forward to it.

Lyss was pretty nervous, but got involved anyway and the other guys were all pretty gung ho about it all.

Things started out pretty cool, we played a couple of team games and then, in a game of "capture the flag" one of our guys, Sam, decided to make a break for the flag, which was planted in a bunker of sorts. We covered him with paintball fire and he dived headfirst into the bunker. When he didn't resurface after about 30 seconds I began calling out to him. Then he appeared, mask off yelling "don't f...n fire, don't f...n fire!". Of course everyone did keep firing, the other team turning him into the paintball equivalent of a Pollock canvas.

I made a run for him when I saw a steady stream of blood flowing down his left arm and noticed a gaping wound along his wrist. He had badly gashed his left wrist, exposing a pumping artery and a few tendons in the process. It seems the bunker was lined with bits of colourbond patio decking (really a stupid idea) - essentially roofing iron. It was mostly covered by bits of old carpet, but Sam's wrist came into contact with a section which wasn't covered and worked like a razor blade along his wrist.

We got him off to hospital in an ambulance from where he was sent home, his wrist in a bandage but unstitched, because there were no surgeons available to look at his wrist and severed tendons. He was told to front up to the emergency department of the Bunbury hospital at 8 o'clock this morning, where (as of 15 minutes ago - it's now 12pm Sunday) he's still sitting waiting to be seen. Our medical system is shot - when a 19 year old with severed wrist tendons can't be seen to immediately and is turned away from 3 different hospitals there has got to be big problems. West Aussies take note - we have an election coming up in two weeks time, what is our government doing to fix our pathetic healthcare system?

Here are the photos (the last one is the gory one):

The Binningup Lads on the field - Ready for action

That's my girl! Lyss on the field. Girls were provided with extra padding - the black vest (on top of the God given stuff).

Sam (on the ground), Alyssa and Andrew after the injury - Sam's left wrist - the one with my hand wrapped around it - is the injured one.

The injury - the white bits are tendons. He partially severed at least one (click to enlarge).

The guy running the paintballing didn't seem to have much first aid experience - which was a bit of a concern - and was happy to let Alyssa and me take care of things. I asked for a first aid kit and was presented with a single gauze pad and gauze bandage. Not really sufficient given the amount of blood leaving the wound.

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