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Overzealous Ski Patrol

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
A few weeks ago I took my 13-year old nephew boarding at a fairly major eastern mountain. It was about 2:30PM when he fell near a mountain ambassador type who was standing in the middle of an icy slope exhorting folks to slow down. The poor kid fell on his butt, on a spot he had fallen on many times earlier in the day. Ouch.

The ambassador immediately asked if he was ok. He said, "Nooo". But he really was ok, just sore and a little embarrassed. Seconds later a volunteer Patrolman happend by and the ambassador stopped him. So they are questioning the kid, who by now is saying that he's ok and can make it down on his own, but it's too late. The patrol has already called for a sled and the process has begun.

I put my 2-cents worth in, telling said patrol that he's just got a sore behind and is fine, but I don't want to be a pushy a-hole and insist that they let him get up. So the kid gets a sleigh ride to the bottom and we hang in first aid for the last hour of the day. Not a huge deal, but completely unnecessary.

Any opinions on this. Did they do the right thing? Should I have been more forceful? Are there liability issues that come into play once the patrol is involved?
post #2 of 19
the problem is once you say to a patrol (or in this case an ambassador) that you are not ok, they pretty much have to take you down, reason being some injuries do not always show immediately. The patrol will tend to err on the side of caution when injuries happen, but can you blame them?

The most important lesson for your nephew (and anyone else) is to not overstate your injuries.

By any chance was this at Killington just below where the skyship unloads?
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I caught up just as he was saying "Nooo" to the ambassador and could tell he just meant he was sore. He tried to explain that to the patrol , but too late.

Not a Kmart look west to a NY state owned area that is not as far north as Lake Placid.

I also have issues with where the ambassadors were standing. The slope in question is a major run-out for traffic from the upper to the lower section of the mountain and takes a sharpish turn where it narrows and the ice, slow skiing signs and ambassadors were. They should have been stationed above the sketchy part and not right in the middle of it. Where they were, they were not only in the way, but you came upon the mess suddenly after turning a blind corner.
post #4 of 19
I have to agree with Manus. No means No. Your nephew has learned a valuable lesson.

Not all ambassadors use their noggins, evidently. I would have asked him to move. He's not God, after all. You can tell him he's not in a good spot.
post #5 of 19
What Manus says makes sense. Especially with kids, who are kind of unpredictable with strangers (though 13 isn't that young).

In the group that goes skiing from my daughter's school, one kindergarten girl fell and hurt her leg on the first day. Apparently (I wasn't there) she told the ski patrol she was okay, and limped around the rest of the day, gradually getting worse, but putting on a "game face." Of course, when she got home and saw her parents, the game face vanished. You can probably already guess the diagnosis when they went to the doctor: fractured tibia. And unhappy parents.

Okay, a 5-year-old is one thing, and a 13-year-old is another, but it's kind of instructive.
post #6 of 19
As a patroller, i would have made sure that you knew your options, given you my reccomendation (which would have been transport, because an hour costs alot less than a serious injury) and if you still wanted to refuse on behalf of your son I would have had you sign a refusal and sent you on your way.
post #7 of 19
It's always better to err on the side of caution, particularly with children and young teens. Many times their injuries do not seem quite as bad as they actually are. In addition to their somewhat softer bones, they also have the growth plate to be concerned about. Even in adults some injuried are not as obvious as others. Different people have different pain thresholds too. It is always best to err on the side of caution.

As a patroller we had a kid say he was not ok, and then as the sled was enroute he said he was ok(parent was not with him, he was 10, small area, easy trail). We took him on the sled, leg splinted and at the bottom, after an exam in the patrol room as well, we suggested a trip to get it x-rayed. Mom was in the patrol room and gave permission for the exam. She wanted us to definitively tell her if it was broken or not. We told her we could not determine that and an x-ray was the best advice.

Mom said, no, he is OK. He can rest for a while and then go out skiing again. We advised against it. She insisted. Generally, if a parent is present an ambulance is not called for this type of injury. We turned the child over to her with our recommendation clearly written on the accident report. She signed the report before leaving. She also took off his splint and told him to stop being such a big baby, he was fine.

One of the patrollers on duty that day just happened to be the owner's son. He went in and told his dad. Dad told the woman that her son could not continue to ski that day. Because he knew about the trouble she had given us he brought a voucher for another visit to her.

The next day, mom returned and told us her boy had a spiral fracture and possible damage to the growth plate. She was thankful that we had done as we had and not allowed him to return to the slopes.
post #8 of 19
That's the same at Okemo. As an Ambassador I saw a parent sign the refusal this past Saturday. Seems Mom and Daughter bumped into each other.

You have to realize it is better to be safe then sorry. Sometimes it's easy to say your ok and other times your better off to take Patrols advice.
post #9 of 19
As the guardian of the child, it was your decision. Generally, refusal of treatment by a guardian for a child cannot be overruled by the care provider.
post #10 of 19
When you're out on the hill with your nephew, that doesn't make you the child's guardian.

Though that may not be the principal issue.
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Would it have made sense to let him get up? The patrol seemed to feel, as I did, that it was most likely not a serious injury, but they weren't taking any chances. Remember that at this point my nephew was saying that he was ok and could make it down on his own.
post #12 of 19
I did one like that last week....parents said he's fine, kid (six) said he wasn't sure. I said lets wait a minute and see if he feels better. After no improvement the parent let us take him down. The knee was hot and starting to swell, so Dad went for the car. I don't know what the doctor found but the parents snap judgement was wrong. I remember when I got sick or hurt my parents first reaction was a state of denial.

Don't get down on the patrollers for being cautious. I wish the kid had been fine too.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston
What Manus says makes sense. Especially with kids, who are kind of unpredictable with strangers (though 13 isn't that young).

In the group that goes skiing from my daughter's school, one kindergarten girl fell and hurt her leg on the first day. Apparently (I wasn't there) she told the ski patrol she was okay, and limped around the rest of the day, gradually getting worse, but putting on a "game face." Of course, when she got home and saw her parents, the game face vanished. You can probably already guess the diagnosis when they went to the doctor: fractured tibia. And unhappy parents.

Okay, a 5-year-old is one thing, and a 13-year-old is another, but it's kind of instructive.
Tough chick! I love that spirit. Reminds me of the Spartan youth who hid a fox under his tunic. The boy should have refused assistance and you don't need to sign anything. Even if he cracked his tailbone, he can still ride. He slid out on a heel side turn! Big deal! What damage did they think could have happened? Anyway he might have had some fun riding the sled, patroller got practice, a little time got wasted. Maybe better safe than sorry. When I break a bone, I go to doctor next day or several days later. I might have avoided some permanent damage if I laid there and waited for patrol...
post #14 of 19
Telerod,

I hope that your post was in jest. Again if it is me, I say that kid goes down in a toboggan. No doubt in my mind. That is what I am there for, many injuries do not show themselves until later. I would rather over treat than under treat.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank
A few weeks ago I took my 13-year old nephew boarding at a fairly major eastern mountain. It was about 2:30PM when he fell near a mountain ambassador type who was standing in the middle of an icy slope exhorting folks to slow down. The poor kid fell on his butt, on a spot he had fallen on many times earlier in the day. Ouch.

The ambassador immediately asked if he was ok. He said, "Nooo". But he really was ok, just sore and a little embarrassed. Seconds later a volunteer Patrolman happend by and the ambassador stopped him. So they are questioning the kid, who by now is saying that he's ok and can make it down on his own, but it's too late. The patrol has already called for a sled and the process has begun.

I put my 2-cents worth in, telling said patrol that he's just got a sore behind and is fine, but I don't want to be a pushy a-hole and insist that they let him get up. So the kid gets a sleigh ride to the bottom and we hang in first aid for the last hour of the day. Not a huge deal, but completely unnecessary.

Any opinions on this. Did they do the right thing? Should I have been more forceful? Are there liability issues that come into play once the patrol is involved?

The patrol did the right thing - say there WAS something wrong - and the patrol left the kid after he had said he was injured - there are plenty of a-holes out there that would sue the mountain for 50 billion in damages...the patroller would likely be protected by good samaritan lawa -unless he was deemed negligent - but either way the mountain could be sued to kingdom come....

he did the right thing....too many a-holes; too much liability these days - a rescuer cant afford to take someones word for it
post #16 of 19
Yep, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't when it come to an instance like this. Once the kid said he was "not okay", Patrol did the right thing, imo. Imagine the flip side where the kids says he's "not okay" and Patrol says "you're fine, you don't need our help". That would actually be a problem to discuss.
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank
A few weeks ago I took my 13-year old nephew boarding ...The poor kid fell on his butt, on a spot he had fallen on many times earlier in the day. Ouch.

The ambassador immediately asked if he was ok. He said, "Nooo". But he really was ok, just sore and a little embarrassed. Seconds later a volunteer Patrolman happend by and the ambassador stopped him. So they are questioning the kid, who by now is saying that he's ok and can make it down on his own, but it's too late. The patrol has already called for a sled and the process has begun.

I put my 2-cents worth in, telling said patrol that he's just got a sore behind and is fine, but I don't want to be a pushy a-hole and insist that they let him get up. So the kid gets a sleigh ride to the bottom and we hang in first aid for the last hour of the day. Not a huge deal, but completely unnecessary.

Any opinions on this. Did they do the right thing? Should I have been more forceful? Are there liability issues that come into play once the patrol is involved?
It's always a judgement call. This one falls in the shady area. In this situation, the patroller obviously observed something, either through his interview or by his on the hill assessment, that caused him to exercise judgement on the side of caution. Without being there, it's hard to tell whether how I might have handled it. If in the interview, your nephew seemed a bit confused, I might have thought there is a chance he bounced his head off the snow and I might have worried about a possible concussion. In which case, I would have been rather insistent that I take him into the patrol room for observation. Potential head injuries are something patrollers do not take for granted, and when in doubt, err on the side of caution.

Keep in mind that the patroller no more want the child to be injured than you or anyone else. Unnecessary trips to the first aid room, for a patroller, also means a lot of paperwork and a lot of sitting around inside, and he no more want to be in that first aid room than you or your nephew.
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston
When you're out on the hill with your nephew, that doesn't make you the child's guardian.

Though that may not be the principal issue.
You will note that I did not write "legal guardian". If a child is entrusted to a persons care, then it is implied that they are given the authority to make decisions on behalf of the parent or legal guardian.

Maybe not the principal issue as you see it, but an issue many here seem blind to - that of informed consent. You cannot treat a person who refuses treatment, in most cases. Implied consent of minors is assumed, in the absence of a parent or guardian, however, when the child has been trusted to the care of another adult, that adult has assumed a significant portion of the authority to make decisions on behalf of the child.

It isn't pretty or exact, but generally, medical care providers should encourage treatment in those cases, while the final decision still rests with the adult.
post #19 of 19
While various state laws may differ, the mere fact you are with a child doesn't give you authority to make decisions on medical treatment.
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