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Crowbar impalement: the PHEM perspective


A man in his 50s suffered an impalement on a crowbar after falling from the roof of a domestic shed. A helicopter-based prehospital emergency medical service team was called to assist in the patient’s care. The crowbar had entered from the left-upper quadrant and was tenting the skin of the right iliac fossa. Analgesia and prehospital sedation were provided to facilitate extrication. A series of improvisations were carried out to support the logistics of transferring the patient using an air ambulance to the regional major trauma centre with the crowbar in situ. The patient was taken to the operating theatre without any imaging and a section of perforated bowel was removed. He made a full recovery and was discharged home 9 days postincident.

  • prehospital
  • trauma
  • accidents, injuries
  • sedation

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