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Maritime Mobile Service Net Handles At-Sea Medical Emergency:

from The ARRL Letter, Vol 23, No 24 on June 11, 2004
Website: http://www.arrl.org/
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Maritime Mobile Service Net Handles At-Sea Medical Emergency:

Members of the Maritime Mobile Service Net http://mmsn.org/ recently were instrumental in the successful handling of yet another medical emergency at sea. The crisis arose when a young hand aboard a commercial fishing vessel in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Central America suffered serious knife wounds May 25 in a fight with a crewmate. Although not an amateur licensee, the captain of the Motor Vessel Brandon Travis knew he could get prompt assistance on the net's 14.300 MHz frequency.

"Under normal conditions, transmissions by non-amateur stations on this frequency are prohibited by international law," said Assistant Net Manager Tom Job, VE3II, who lives near Toronto and took the initial call for help. "But when an emergency occurs at sea, anyone can use the frequency for assistance." At the time, the 80-foot, steel-hulled Brandon Travis was reported two days east of Roatan, Honduras.

The captain, who identified himself as "Chris," explained that the most serious injury the 17-year-old crew member suffered was a stab wound in the back, just a few inches from the victim's spine.

After obtaining critical information, Job contacted the Coast Guard's District 7 Search and Rescue Center in Miami and relayed the situation report. The Coast Guard in turn contacted Honduran authorities to arrange to evacuate the injured man.

The net also was able to get physician Jim Hirschman, K4TCV, a net member in Miami, on frequency. Hirschman has extensive experience assisting with injuries and medical emergencies via the radio. He was one of the principal MMSN members to provide assistance and advice to the parents of Willem van Tuyl, then 13, after he was shot and seriously injured in a pirate attack on the family's sailboat in 2000.

The injured man was reported in pain and apparent shock and having difficulty breathing. Hirschman advised the captain on how to stabilize the victim and treat his injuries. No oxygen was available aboard the vessel. "The injury was life-threatening, and medical evacuation was of the utmost urgency," Job pointed out. Hirschman was joined by fellow physician Peter Sosnow, W1KY, an emergency room trauma specialist.

The net remained open past its normal closing time to keep an ear on the situation. Early the next morning, the captain of the Brandon Travis informed the net that the injured man had been removed to a Honduran naval vessel and taken to a hospital.

"Without the assistance of the net, this situation could have resulted in the death of the crew member," Job added. The stabbing victim spent a couple of days in the hospital and was released.

The captain of the Brandon Travis checked into the net two days after the incident to thank everyone for their help. At the captain's request, the net supplied him with a copy of ARRL Amateur Radio license study materials.

"He was super impressed with the net's response and now has 14.300 in the ship SSB radio's memory," Job said. "Chalk up another one for the good guys."

Source:

The ARRL Letter Vol. 23, No. 24 June 11, 2004

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
Maritime Mobile Service Net Handles At-Sea Medical  
by VA7MRT on June 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
A Brilliant display of what the Amateur Radio Community is all about - Congratulations for a job well done. In a time of uncertainy and tribulations - it is nice to read something lighthearted.

Cheers,
- Matt
 
RE: Maritime Mobile Service Net Handles At-Sea Med  
by AG4RQ on June 12, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
This is a classic example of how amateur radio can save lives. It is also a classic example of how lives can be lost if BPL renders HF unusable.
 
RE: Maritime Mobile Service Net Handles At-Sea Med  
by AE1X on June 14, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
This the type of story that must be brought to the attention of the proper people as showcase of what Amateur Radio is all about and what will be lost should our HF allocations become polluted with BPL signals.

Ken, AE1X
 
RE: Maritime Mobile Service Net Handles At-Sea Med  
by KC8VWM on June 15, 2004 Mail this to a friend!

Very impressive example indeed!

Makes you proud to be a member of the Amateur radio community.


73

Charles - KC8VWM
 
Maritime Mobile Service Net Handles At-Sea Medical  
by W1FRH on June 18, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I listened to this emergency and was very impressed with the handling of the net and the speed in which all happened.
Makes me Proud to be of the Ham community.
W1FRH

 
Maritime Mobile Service Net Handles At-Sea Medical  
by W1FRH on June 18, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I listened to this emergency and was very impressed with the handling of the net and the speed in which all happened.
Makes me Proud to be of the Ham community.
W1FRH

 
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