The patrol protocols where I work state;
Intervening Physician On Scene
A physician physically present at a scene who offers to assist in the care of a patient may be allowed to do so if the following conditions are met:
The physician identifies him/herself to the EMS provider in charge of patient care as a currently licensed physician or otherwise authorized to practice in the state of New Mexico.
The physician agrees to accompany the patient to the hospital and to provide care until patient responsibility is appropriately transferred to the receiving hospital physician.
If the on-scene medical intervention orders conflict with these protocols, the physician should be placed in direct voice contact with the receiving physician. If a conflict remains, EMS personnel will follow normal protocol.
Back to the issue of doctor patrollers:
Originally Posted by catskills
...In reality on the hill with limited tools available, ski patrol has more experience using the tools in the ski patrol trauma pack on the ski hill in the outdoors on steep slippery slopes.
IMHO unless the doctor has a lot of experience in the ER, they are not going to be very useful on the hill with patient care. Yes the doctors call 911. As an EMT my ambulance gets numerous calls to primary care physicians office when patients are turning blue and the doctors office does not have oxygen or a BVM.
There is the crux of the matter. There just isn't that much doctoring that can be done on-hill and with the available tools. Stabilizing and transporting the pt to a medical facility is usually the best thing that can be done...by anyone. Until they've done some on-hill pt care people tend to way underestimate the problems posed by the environment that limit advanced care at the scene. Extrication and transportation can be very complex, strenuous and occasionally dangerous. Aid rooms aren't clinics, and the ski areas that have clinics have full-time doctors in them.
Which leads to my concerns about doctors as patrollers. Patrolling is so much more than pt care. It's about hard and occasionally crappy physical work that some doctors don't show much interest in - carrying loads (on skis and at times in difficult terrain) of bamboo, fences, tower pads, signs, and rope, then putting that stuff up, digging out fences and raising pads, bootpacking runs, facility maintenance and cleaning, chairlift evacuation, avalanche control, sweeps, toboggan and equipment maintenance, clearing snow and deadfall, "customer contact," sitting in rotation at the patrol stations, low and high-angle rescue, searching, sweeping, training noobs, occasionally running lifts, etc. And sometimes going to accidents.
The thing is that IME some doctors seem not to have a strong interest in doing all that stuff, but that stuff has to be done or else one of the other patrollers has to do it. So while doctors can help a lot with their skills with assessments and treatments, unless they are willing to be full-on team members as patrollers, the EMT-B/I/Ps and medical director/MCEP (on-line medical control emergency physician) can get the job done.
And oh yeah, at many hills it is hard to be a good patroller if you aren't a good strong skier. My $.02.