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Texan requests helicopter rescue from Mt. St. Helens

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Re: Texan requests helicopter rescue from Mt. St. Helens

Postby surgent » Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:37 pm

mconnell wrote:
surgent wrote:. The fishiest part is "she called for the helicopter..." It just doesn't work that way.


Yes it does. The woman hired a private helicopter. At least read the first line of the article.


The op commander would be unlikely to allow that. She's the responsibility of the rescue team and by extension the county sheriff (or equivalent agency) until she's handed off to the medical guys. They just don't "give up" a subject, especially one who is injured, just because they demand it or have the money and means to fly in their own helo.

I still think there are holes big enough to park a Buick in with this story.

Regarding the tax-payer comment: rescues are part of the mandate of every county sheriff (or equivalent agency). The tax=payer gets stuck with the bill far more often for the usual day-to-day crime than with the occasional rescue, and furthermore, most rescue teams are composed of volunteers who buy their own gear, and who get paid nothing by the sheriff. County SAR teams are one of the best values for the dollar you'll find anywhere.
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Re: Texan requests helicopter rescue from Mt. St. Helens

Postby mconnell » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:15 pm

surgent wrote:They just don't "give up" a subject, especially one who is injured, just because they demand it


So, they hold people against their will while forcing unwanted treatment on them? The reality is if someone doesn't want to be rescued, SAR goes home.
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Re: Texan requests helicopter rescue from Mt. St. Helens

Postby surgent » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:56 pm

mconnell wrote:
surgent wrote:They just don't "give up" a subject, especially one who is injured, just because they demand it


So, they hold people against their will while forcing unwanted treatment on them? The reality is if someone doesn't want to be rescued, SAR goes home.


No, the reality is that once the rescue is in action, the final decision becomes that of the op commander.

I was on a number of missions where we reached the subject, they were fine (if scratched up and embarrassed) and after a quickie check, walked them out and let them go home. But that final decision is still the op commander's (who usually will defer to any on-site medics on these "easy" cases).

Once the SAR team reaches the subject, the subject is their legal responsibility until they are handed off to (usually) the medics. This is the law in all states. The subject just cannot summarily decide they want out of the litter. Some are not in their right minds (e.g. out for a number of days, injured, dehydrated, you name it), some are moaners by genetics. Whatever the case, the subject is the op commander's responsibility until as stated above.

It's not unlike some paramedics responding to a call, taking some guy into the ambulance, then halfway to the hospital, he decides he doesn't like this and wants out. No way would the medics allow the subject to simply leave... he gets hurt or in some other trouble, he is still the responder's responsibility, and by extension, the tax-payers. That's where the lawsuits would occur.

I wouldn't say the subjects are held against their will. Some will put up a fight, or complain, or be obstinate. You'd be surprised what state of mind an otherwise rational person can slip into when in a rescue scenario.

In regards to this woman, I know no more than you do. My bat sense tells me something else is being left out of the story. Suppose her personal helo crashes. She is still the state or county's responsibility, so I am surprised she was simply "let go". The taxpayers would surely be on the hook should her family sue.

Stories like this are inflammatory to SAR in general because it propogates the perception that it is a costly waste of time and resources, when in fact, most SAR cases are successful, run by the book, cost-effective, and so boring that no news coverage will be given. This one case has a lot of good "story" to it, but the tone of the article is unflattering, not only to the woman (that she is from Texas is irrelevant), but also to the apparent laissez-faire attitude of the SAR people. Thus, to me at least, there is far more to this story than what is printed in that article.
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Re: Texan requests helicopter rescue from Mt. St. Helens

Postby Ben Beckerich » Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:16 pm

surgent wrote:
mconnell wrote:
surgent wrote:They just don't "give up" a subject, especially one who is injured, just because they demand it


So, they hold people against their will while forcing unwanted treatment on them? The reality is if someone doesn't want to be rescued, SAR goes home.


No, the reality is that once the rescue is in action, the final decision becomes that of the op commander.

I was on a number of missions where we reached the subject, they were fine (if scratched up and embarrassed) and after a quickie check, walked them out and let them go home. But that final decision is still the op commander's (who usually will defer to any on-site medics on these "easy" cases).

Once the SAR team reaches the subject, the subject is their legal responsibility until they are handed off to (usually) the medics. This is the law in all states. The subject just cannot summarily decide they want out of the litter. Some are not in their right minds (e.g. out for a number of days, injured, dehydrated, you name it), some are moaners by genetics. Whatever the case, the subject is the op commander's responsibility until as stated above.

It's not unlike some paramedics responding to a call, taking some guy into the ambulance, then halfway to the hospital, he decides he doesn't like this and wants out. No way would the medics allow the subject to simply leave... he gets hurt or in some other trouble, he is still the responder's responsibility, and by extension, the tax-payers. That's where the lawsuits would occur.

I wouldn't say the subjects are held against their will. Some will put up a fight, or complain, or be obstinate. You'd be surprised what state of mind an otherwise rational person can slip into when in a rescue scenario.

In regards to this woman, I know no more than you do. My bat sense tells me something else is being left out of the story. Suppose her personal helo crashes. She is still the state or county's responsibility, so I am surprised she was simply "let go". The taxpayers would surely be on the hook should her family sue.

Stories like this are inflammatory to SAR in general because it propogates the perception that it is a costly waste of time and resources, when in fact, most SAR cases are successful, run by the book, cost-effective, and so boring that no news coverage will be given. This one case has a lot of good "story" to it, but the tone of the article is unflattering, not only to the woman (that she is from Texas is irrelevant), but also to the apparent laissez-faire attitude of the SAR people. Thus, to me at least, there is far more to this story than what is printed in that article.


You're going to have to show me a statute that gives anyone authority to continue a rescue of someone against their will, even if the rescue is halfway underway. Likewise, if I decide I want out of the back of an ambulance, you better believe you DO have to let me out, unless you're prepared to articulate a damn good reason for believing I'm not mentally capable of making rational decisions or somesuch. Police, fire, medical, SAR... no one is allowed to hold a person against his will, barring arrest or some other extremely narrowly defined exception.
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Re: Texan requests helicopter rescue from Mt. St. Helens

Postby asmrz » Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:07 am

I think there is a huge difference between legit rescue and attempts to rescue someone who (in their own opinion) does not need one, or want one. Galen Rowel and Warren Harding on Half Dome in winter is an example, if I'm not mistaken. Rescue was called by well meaning friends (not well informed) and Harding called out from the wall, rescue not needed, not wanted and a few other words to that effect. End of rescue...That scenario happens more often than you might think.

"They just don't give up a subject" that's really funny...
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Re: Texan requests helicopter rescue from Mt. St. Helens

Postby ywardhorner » Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:34 am

I bet the actual protocol varies from team to team and state to state. If someone's actually in bad enough shape to be placed in the litter in the first place, they usually don't want to get out. But if one of our patients did (barring an obvious head injury/hypothermia etc), I believe we would let them. You can't rescue someone against their will and you can't hold them captive.
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Re: Texan requests helicopter rescue from Mt. St. Helens

Postby mattyj » Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:49 am

Ben Beckerich wrote:You're going to have to show me a statute that gives anyone authority to continue a rescue of someone against their will, even if the rescue is halfway underway. Likewise, if I decide I want out of the back of an ambulance, you better believe you DO have to let me out, unless you're prepared to articulate a damn good reason for believing I'm not mentally capable of making rational decisions or somesuch.


Day 1 in EMT class is that you only treat patients with consent, outside a narrow set of circumstances in which they may be mentally impared. If they revoke consent partway, you document it and let them go.

However, it's worth noting that someone needed to give the private helicopter permission to land in a restricted area. They certainly had the right to say "you're coming down in the litter or you're on your own", if they really wanted to.

Edit: I also don't see why this story has gotten so much traction. Maybe she spent the whole night making unreasonable demands and bitching about how they needed to get her a helicopter. Or maybe she was incredibly nice and apologetic, and after bouncing around in a litter all night (no fun for rescuers or patient) and with many hours still to go, asked if there was anything she could do, on her own dime, to get everyone off the hill and back to their normal lives sooner. The story's been cast as wealthy texan v. normal people because that's what sells, but even college students these days have credit cards with limits greater than $1300. A sufficiently painful litter ride will change anyone's perspective on how that $1300 stacks up against short term suffering.

There are a lot of jurisdictions with in-house helicopter resources where she would have been flown off anyway.
Last edited by mattyj on Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Texan requests helicopter rescue from Mt. St. Helens

Postby mrchad9 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:46 am

I really don't see why anyone is up in arms over this... or why this woman 'sucks'.

I certainly wouldn't do this, but it was her money and she paid for the thing. Who cares what she does with her own money?
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Re: Texan requests helicopter rescue from Mt. St. Helens

Postby lcarreau » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:51 am

surgent wrote:
I still think there are holes big enough to park a Buick in with this story.



Not any more, Scott.


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Re: Texan requests helicopter rescue from Mt. St. Helens

Postby Ben Beckerich » Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:04 am

I think on the surface it sounds ridiculous, and people love to have their notions that people are ridiculous confirmed... so it's a hit, as a headline. Simple as that
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Re: Texan requests helicopter rescue from Mt. St. Helens

Postby fatdad » Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:55 pm

asmrz wrote:I think there is a huge difference between legit rescue and attempts to rescue someone who (in their own opinion) does not need one, or want one. Galen Rowel and Warren Harding on Half Dome in winter is an example, if I'm not mistaken. Rescue was called by well meaning friends (not well informed) and Harding called out from the wall, rescue not needed, not wanted and a few other words to that effect. End of rescue...That scenario happens more often than you might think.

"They just don't give up a subject" that's really funny...

I thought that they were rescued in that instance. I recall seeing photos of a heli on the summit of Half Dome and Robbins being lowered with some warm soup. I recall the rescue in part because some other folks (Mike Corbett I think?) was also rescued trying to repeat the route and got hammered by a similar winter storm.
From personal experience, I'm inclined to believe that once a rescue has been initiated, the one directing the rescue is going to make the final call. My buddy and I got rescued off the top of Clyde Minaret after climbing the SE Face. My partner fell only about 30 ft. into the descent when he pulled off a large block that landing in his lap, breaking his pelvis. They finally plucked us off at about mid-day the following day. If I had told them, 'no thanks' (even though I was uninjured--though REALLY beat after an unplanned bivy in the open) I have the very strong impression that they would NOT have just shrugged their shoulders and flown off.
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Re: Texan requests helicopter rescue from Mt. St. Helens

Postby mrchad9 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:01 pm

You think they would have kidnapped you? Even with you pushing them off and saying 'No means No!"?
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Re: Texan requests helicopter rescue from Mt. St. Helens

Postby fatdad » Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:10 pm

mrchad9 wrote:You think they would have kidnapped you? Even with you pushing them off and saying 'No means No!"?

Yes, that was exactly what I feared would happen... :roll:
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Re: Texan requests helicopter rescue from Mt. St. Helens

Postby mrchad9 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:25 pm

fatdad wrote:
mrchad9 wrote:You think they would have kidnapped you? Even with you pushing them off and saying 'No means No!"?

Yes, that was exactly what I feared would happen... :roll:

Well that is what you said. Either the final call is yours, or they are taking you against your will. And that is kidnapping.

Since you agreed to be rescued, you really have no basis for saying what would have happened if you had steadfastly refused.
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Re: Texan requests helicopter rescue from Mt. St. Helens

Postby fatdad » Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:45 pm

mrchad9 wrote:
fatdad wrote:
mrchad9 wrote:You think they would have kidnapped you? Even with you pushing them off and saying 'No means No!"?

Yes, that was exactly what I feared would happen... :roll:

Well that is what you said. Either the final call is yours, or they are taking you against your will. Maybe you didn't know... but that is precisely what kidnapping is.

Since you agreed to be rescued, you really have no basis for saying what would have happened if you had steadfastly refused.

I was there; you were not. Given that, let me be very clear, although I agreed to be rescued (the downclimb off of Clyde is involved, exposed, I had a long, miserable night and I had just seen my partner almost die) I don't believe I had the option of saying 'no'.

If you want what might be a close analogy, if the Coast Guard goes out to rescue a vessel, if they deem the situation bad enough, they will make the rescue, even if the captain of the rescued vessel says s/he wants to stay with the ship and ride it out.
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