You may have heard of it as many different names, but if you want to learn practical, well researched information on suspension trauma than you have before, take an hour and watch the video below. In it, Dr. Roger Mortimer, gives his take on what is actually happening to people who are hanging in a harness and why he thinks they sometimes die because of it. I had the pleasure of seeing Dr Mortimer present this at the International Technical Rescue Symposium. He’s a great great presenter without any qualification. As a doctor explaining medical stuff to a lay crowd, he’s surely the best in the business. He’s also a cave rescue guy and has spent his share of time in a harness.
Someone who was left hanging:
The readers digest version of the big points:
– Death from hanging in a harness is caused by lack of victim movement, not the amount of time they are hanging. Have the victim move their legs if they are able.
– Tell the hospital the victim has rhabdomyolysis and to prepare to treat them for that. It will save a lot of time and confusion on both sides.
– It’s okay to lay the victim down after they have been removed from rope.
Here is a link to the paper published in the Wilderness Medical Society Journal: