Fined for helping an injured climber

10:33 a.m. on March 13, 2014 (EDT)
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This sounds like a bad deal.  A guy rapps 150' to an injured climber, helps and comforts him then gets fined for not leaving before the "professionals" arrived.  If the facts are anything like the report (are they ever?) this sounds pretty bad.  The climber was a a hero the way I read it.  What do you think?

http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/state-regional/climber-caught-rescue-issued-citation/nd9rc/

10:34 a.m. on March 13, 2014 (EDT)
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Sometimes the world is illogical and upside down. The guy did the right thing.

11:11 a.m. on March 13, 2014 (EDT)
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Yeah......no common sense used any more. SO much litigation and crap that illogical rules are applied in scenarios where they do not fit. I always tell people there are moral choices and legal choices and rarely the twain shall meet.

5:57 p.m. on March 13, 2014 (EDT)
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Really?? I could see if they needed to down climb. The climber who down climbed to him was in the way and they weren't going to use a Blackhawk I could see it... 

I see no common sense for the citation...

9:15 p.m. on March 13, 2014 (EDT)
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Ridiculous!

12:11 a.m. on March 14, 2014 (EDT)
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Sounds like the "professionals" got their glory seeking toes stepped on. No good deed goes unpunished, especially when any "authority" figure is involved.

10:55 a.m. on March 14, 2014 (EDT)
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Are you guys reading the same story I read>?   It says the rescue team arrived, and instructed the "helper" to move away so that they could land their team.  For twenty minutes, he refused because he didn't want to leave some of his climbing gear behind.  He delayed the rescue for twenty minutes.

 

That's what he was fined for. 

 

When the EMT's get there, you have to do what you're told.

11:46 a.m. on March 14, 2014 (EDT)
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balzaccom said:

Are you guys reading the same story I read>?   It says the rescue team arrived, and instructed the "helper" to move away so that they could land their team.  For twenty minutes, he refused because he didn't want to leave some of his climbing gear behind.  He delayed the rescue for twenty minutes.

 

That's what he was fined for. 

 

When the EMT's get there, you have to do what you're told.

Busted. I admit to reading the thread and relying on the initial comments. In this case, common sense the other direction. Helper needed to use some.

i guess this is why I like to try to post the facts in th OP and not just rely on the readers clicking in.....ooops.

2:06 p.m. on March 14, 2014 (EDT)
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Given the little information we have, this is what apparently happened.

A climber fell and another climber came to his aid and built an anchor to secure the fallen climber. When crews arrived the second climber was asked to leave, which he did not do. He was cited. He claims that the gear securing the victim was his way off the face. EMT's say they always use their own gear. There may have been confusion by the EMTs as to which gear was the victim's or the civilian climber's. However, the civilian climber should not have used gear that was apparently essential for his own safety, to secure the victim. Your primary responsibility in any rescue, is to stay safe yourself. While there are inherent risks in a rescue, putting your own safety at great risk can put more stress on the situation. Rescue personnel are trained to assess these situations and make these calls.

Again, we only have some of the story. My experience in SAR and river rescue has taught me that sometimes well meaning good samaritans can put everyone at risk.

1:42 p.m. on March 15, 2014 (EDT)
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I don't see that he put himself at risk in securing the climber.


What I don't get is anyone taking basic first aid is told to stay with the victim until it becomes too dangerous to do so or until help arrives. The rescue team stated he should have been off the wall, "well before they arrived." That makes no sense to me. 

Also, they state they "used his rope, but he could have left any time." That makes no sense to me. How were they using his rope? Was he aware that he could still use the rope to leave.

So now the next time there is a situation like this, other climbers are going to wonder if they should render aid and risk a citation, or just call 9-1-1 and leave the victim unattended.

2:14 p.m. on March 15, 2014 (EDT)
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Goose, we have not gotten whole story. The climber said he could not leave without retrieving his gear. He states that he couldn't just walk away because of his gear that(presumably) he had used to secure the victim. If he couldn't leave, and was stuck 200 feet up on the face because his gear was securing the victim, that would seem to me to be putting himself at risk. It is only my opinion given the rescue training I have had and the limited information we have in this situation.

Again, we don't know the whole story and it is written from the civilian climber's perspective with the info that he gave. There has been no interview with SARs personnel and they might have other things to say.

The article states that the climber had 13 years experience, as a climber, I presume. Does he have rescue training? Does he have medical training? How did he secure the injured climber? Without knowing these things, it is difficult to  armchair assess the issue.

You raise a good point about rendering aid. I would encourage anyone who spends any time in the outdoors, to at least take a Wilderness First Aid course and stay up to date. They are inexpensive and take only a long week end. WFR is more involved, but much more helpful. Either way, you will learn to safely stabilize victims and assess injuries. But equally important, is learning about your legal responsibilities. I have participated in a river rescue where a well meaning samaritan with no training, actually put the victim at greater risk. I also know of at least one injury where an untrained climber did more injury to the victim with a serious back injury, because the climber had no medical training, and acted based on his own intuition.

As as writer, I know that there is always more to the story. Here is a link.

http://www.wncn.com/story/24948306/911-calls-to-save-injured-climber-on-short-off-mountain

5:26 p.m. on March 18, 2014 (EDT)
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I would gladly take a citation in order to assist another person. Of course, listening to Erich's admonishments and remaining safe myself. But if it came between getting a ticket and helping someone, moral code of conduct trumps legalities to me. It would be worth the fee. I could always argue my case in court and let the courts decide if I was justified in my affirmative defense.

1:18 p.m. on March 19, 2014 (EDT)
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Brings to mind the couple of lawsuits in the news recently where people are suing those that saved their life, one isn a fire one in a flood....the one saved from the fire is also an illegal immigrant.

Just goes to show no good deed goes unpunished.

3:29 p.m. on March 19, 2014 (EDT)
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Last night on the evening news here in the SFBay area, there was a report of 3 high school boys who rescued two elderly women from their house which was engulfed in flames. They were lauded as heroes, until ... the principal at their school discovered they had not been in class. Therefore, the 3 lads are having to do community service for cutting class.

http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_25371206/from-playing-hooky-playing-hero-cal-high-students

Originally, they were being given detention, but one of the witnesses to the rescue called the principal and suggested a bit of mercy.

9:23 a.m. on March 20, 2014 (EDT)
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People are entitled (in the case of suing after rescue) and lack common sense (in the case of detention/suspension). Every incident is a prime chance at the litigation lottery. We are never responsible for ourselves and others are responsible to do for us what we want, when we want, and how we want. No gratitude. No graciousness. Just a critique on how You COULD HAVE DONE more FOR me.

2:29 p.m. on March 20, 2014 (EDT)
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I can't recall the incident, but not too long ago, someone was sued by the victim because they think the rescuer could have done more. It seems we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. Again, knowing our legal responsibilities("do you need assistance?") is as important as knowing how to treat the victim.

6:53 p.m. on March 20, 2014 (EDT)
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Well, if someone is injured, you don't want to move them unless they are in danger.  Let the professionals put them in a neck brace and on a bodyboard.    There have been suits after people were crippled when well meaning folks pulled them out of car accidents where they didn't need to be pulled out i.e. the car wasn't burning, or otherwise in further danger.  And the good samaritan laws are only a defense, which means you can win in the end, but have to spend the legal fees to get to the end. 

 

And you don't want to take a risk that could result in 2 victims to be saved instead of 1.    

2:23 a.m. on March 21, 2014 (EDT)
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Perhaps Gift can lend some legal advice here. My training advocates that if I come upon a victim in need of assistance and I offer help, and am refused, I have to wait until the victim is unconsious  and then I can assist. At that point, I am able to determine on my own if assistance is needed.

10:34 a.m. on March 21, 2014 (EDT)
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Erich said:

Perhaps Gift can lend some legal advice here. My training advocates that if I come upon a victim in need of assistance and I offer help, and am refused, I have to wait until the victim is unconsious  and then I can assist. At that point, I am able to determine on my own if assistance is needed.

 That mirrors the training I recevied at my last CPR certification class.

5:49 p.m. on March 25, 2014 (EDT)
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Erich said:

Perhaps Gift can lend some legal advice here. My training advocates that if I come upon a victim in need of assistance and I offer help, and am refused, I have to wait until the victim is unconsious  and then I can assist. At that point, I am able to determine on my own if assistance is needed.

 That is true. Other things are true too:

There is no legal duty to assist unless you have the education to assist, which means doctors, medics and can mean people holding CPR cards or certifications that indicate they have skills to help. So if you refuse to assist and are of the class of people who is deemed to have a duty, you can lose a lawsuit.

 

Also, if you do or do not have some certification or training to attend to such matters, and you DO begin to assist, you are committed and cannot abandon your assistance.

 

And if you have the training to assist and screw it up....you are held to a higher standard than someone who has no duty and just pitches in but gets it wrong.

9:45 a.m. on March 26, 2014 (EDT)
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Very good to know. Makes me wonder about a lot of the things that I saw when I worked law enforcement.  

Thanks for sharing your knowledge.  

10:37 a.m. on March 26, 2014 (EDT)
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Again, none of us was there, so we our information is sketchy, at best. I would again encourage everyone who spends time in the natural landscape as all TS users do, to get certified with Wilderness First Aid at the very least and Wilderness First Responder if you can. These courses are taught by experienced professionals across the country and give you the experience to assess, and in the case of WFR, treat injuries you may encounter. 

2:05 p.m. on March 26, 2014 (EDT)
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Erich said:

Again, none of us was there, so we our information is sketchy, at best. I would again encourage everyone who spends time in the natural landscape as all TS users do, to get certified with Wilderness First Aid at the very least and Wilderness First Responder if you can. These courses are taught by experienced professionals across the country and give you the experience to assess, and in the case of WFR, treat injuries you may encounter. 

 And if you DO, understand that you will be held to a higher standard of care when you encounter a problem on the trail. You will have created a duty to assist. To me, morally, there is nothing wrong with that. I would rather be able to help and suffer some legal consequence as a result, then to stand unable and watch someone who is sick or injured suffer more.

9:54 a.m. on March 27, 2014 (EDT)
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Back in a previous life we always said, "Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six."

September 21, 2014
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