Saturday July 11, NSR members spent the day assisting with medical coverage of the Knee Knacker race on the North Shore. Members provided medical coverage and assistance on the sweep, as well as advanced medical care response teams which move with the race from Nelson Creek in West Vancouver to Deep Cove in North Vancouver. This is an annual event and is a long standing relationship between the Knee Knacker and North Shore Rescue.

This years race was shaping up to be a hot one, with smoke in the air and soaring temperatures. On Saturday, however, the weather turned out to be optimal for racing with colder temps and even a little rain. The sweep teams and medical response units luckily were only needed to cheer on the racers as there were no significant injuries or rescues which resulted from the race! Amazing efforts by all the racers and great work by the many volunteers which pulled off this epic annual race!

While stationed at Rice Lake for the race, NSR’s advanced medical and helicopter rescue team were alerted to an injured mountain biker nearby on the Cambodia trail near Mystery Creek. One of NSR’s doctors was able to make contact with paramedics and ascertain that the patient was in serious condition. Working with BCAS paramedics, District North Vancouver Firefighters and Metro Vancouver staff, the NSR doctor (an experienced emergency room physician) and a NSR paramedic responded to the scene. At the scene a detailed medical examination revealed serious internal injuries with deteriorating vital signs. Painting the picture, NSR’s doctor made it immediately clear that the patient was unstable and would require aerial extraction.

In consultation with the fire chief, NSR helicopter rescue technicians were activated and rapidly deployed the helicopter rescue system with Talon Helicopters. All personnel on-scene, with the understanding that the patient was extremely unstable and would likely not survive a land based extraction, worked professionally and collaboratively to ensure the patient was ready for aerial extraction. Shortly after, a NSR HETS technician was lowered to the scene on a 200 foot longline, into tall timber, where the patient was packaged into our aerial rescue platform and brought out to waiting BCAS advanced life support paramedics at our helicopter base.

This patient went from on-scene care, to advanced paramedic care, to the emergency room, to the operating room in a very short span of time due to the amazing work of all responding agencies and the care from Lions Gate Hospital staff. Without this chain of paid and volunteer professionals, this patient’s outcome would likely have been tragic.