It’s been a busy few weeks for the Mayo Mountain Rescue team as the extended July Croagh Patrick Pilgrimage came to an end.
On Sunday, they were called to assist a walker with a lower leg injury on the front of Croagh Patrick at 2pm.
Their first response team reached the casualty at 3pm and they were suffering with what appeared to be a fractured fibula and tibia.
The leg was splinted and, given the nature of the injury, evacuation by air was requested as the jarring ride by stretcher would have been very difficult on the casualty.
At first Rescue 118 from Sligo was tasked but they were diverted to another incident en route, resulting in Rescue 115 from Shannon being tasked.
They landed on the shoulder of Croagh Patrick and their winch operator descended to the incident site to assess the situation.
Two Coast Guard ground crews were collected from Murrisk to assist.
Mayo MRT assisted with the highline and the casualty was successfully winched aboard the aircraft for evacuation to Mayo General.
Mayo MRT was stood down at 5pm.
On Thursday, Mayo MRT were called to assist another walker with a lower leg injury on the shoulder of Croagh Patrick at 3pm.
The Coast Guard helicopter was also tasked and arrived on site before their first response team reached the casualty.
The patient was assessed by the Coast Guard paramedic and then, with the support of the first response team, was loaded onto the aircraft and brought to Mayo General Hospital.
Mayo MRT was stood down at 16:30pm.
Last Tuesday, Mayo MRT was called to assist a lady with an ankle injury on Croagh Patrick.
Their first response team treated the injury and then a stretcher party brought the lady down to Murrisk.
Her husband brought her to Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar.
The team was stood down at 8pm.
On Reek Sunday, the 25th of July, Mayo MRT received two separate call outs at about 4pm.
One of them was from the Gardai and one was from the National Ambulance Service.
The information they received on each call out was similar, but two different contact numbers were given so they had to treat these as two separate call outs.
Both call outs were about a male in his fifties who was struggling or had collapsed.
They used a Phone Find system to find the location of the patient.
This was done with both contact numbers and the result was two different locations.
The team knew from past experience that this can happen if the people who called in the rescue were just passers-by who continued on their journey.
In this case, even if they are both reporting the same incident, by the time they got a fix on their location they will have moved from the incident site.
This is exactly what had happened in this case.
The Mayo MRT team was on the hill from 12:30pm so they sent a first response team to the suspected location to assess the situation.
This team included a doctor, and advanced paramedic, and a nurse – all highly qualified and experienced in wilderness medicine.
The Galway MRT was held in reserve in case there really was two separate incidents.
By the time our base management team had confirmed that there was only one casualty by speaking with each contact the Mayo MRT First Response team was already on site.
Feedback from the first response team was that he casualty was critically ill with severe heatstroke and needed evacuation by helicopter ASAP.
The two Coastguard helicopters that they normally work with were unavailable – Rescue 118 from Sligo was on a call in Donegal and Rescue 115 from Shannon was also unavailable.
Their next option was Rescue 112 – an Aer Corps medivac helicopter, but they were at least one hour away.
The incident management team was then working all the options, but eventually went back to Rescue 118 from Sligo who were now on their way back from Donegal and gave an ETA of 50 minutes.
Despite having brought the casualty to a designated landing zone, the helicopter did not land.
They lowered a winchman with a stretcher and then with the assistance of Mayo MRT, winched the casualty on board.
He was brought to Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar where he was treated for heatstroke.