Case Study 34

The Scenario: A Rough Landing

The Setting

You’re setting up camp at an established campground a few miles from town after a long day on your road bikes. Your companion was climbing a tree to set a line to keep food from bears. A branch snaps and he falls hard from about 15’ up, landing on his upper back. Before you think about it you find yourself kneeling at his head, controlling the cervical spine with your hands – a result of your Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course. You calm yourself, focus, and begin the patient assessment.

SOAP Report


The patient is a 30-year-old male who fell about 15’ out of a tree when a branch broke. He landed on his upper back. He did not lose responsiveness. He is complaining of right shoulder and upper back pain. 


Patient Exam: The patient was found on his back. He has no visible injuries. He is complaining of pain in his upper back on the spine and in the surrounding muscles. There is some tenderness around the spine right between the shoulder blades. CSM are good in all extremities.

  Vital Signs



HR 76, strong, regular

RR 18, regular, easy

SCTM pink, warm, dry

B.P. radial pulse present

Pupils equal and reactive

not taken, states he is warm

Symptoms: none

Allergies: denies

Medications: ibuprofen occasionally for muscle aches from exercise

Pertinent Hx: none

Last in/out:  drank  4 liters of water today, urinated 2X with a normal BM

Events: The fall from the tree was not caused by a fainting event.

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