SilverStar Giving a Lift to Emergency Department at VJH
SilverStar Mountain’s Annual Emergency Services Day will take place Saturday, January 21, 2017 in support of VJH Foundation. SilverStar will donate $20 from every lift ticket sold that day to raise funds for the VJH Emergency Department.
Last year’s event was a tremendous success, raising $15,000 for equipment in the Emergency Department. SilverStar has been an avid supporter of VJH Foundation raising more than $53,000 for vital health care equipment over the last three years. The event will feature demonstrations by nine local emergency services teams taking place through the day. Teams volunteer their time putting on live showcases of their skills and equipment through the day.
Ski Docs Program Takes Health Care to New Heights
A critical part of SilverStar’s emergency services is the Ski Docs Program which has been in operation for 15 years. Dr. Gavin Smart, Vernon physician and medical director for the program, says the purpose of Ski Docs is to provide physician back up on the mountain for serious medical situations during weekends and holidays.
The Ski Docs team comprises 13 members including family and emergency department physicians and specialists who volunteer their time each year for the program. The 2016-17 season kicked off with a specialized training session to refresh practical knowledge and extrication of patients off the hill. Each physician commits to five volunteer shifts per season.
“Of the many incidents requiring medical treatment, the SilverStar Patrol team has saved the lives of five people suffering cardiac arrest on the mountain,” said Dr. Smart. “All were successfully resuscitated, treated and discharged to lead normal lives.”
Dr. Smart is also involved with Vernon Search and Rescue (VSAR) as medical director and takes part in the VSAR Helicopter Winch Line Rescue Program.
The program was established three years ago in partnership with Emergency Management BC and Wildcat Helicopters. Dr. Smart credits SilverStar Safety and Ski Patrol Director Jeremy Griffiths, an advanced critical care paramedic from the UK, for facilitating the program’s existence.
“This type of rescue allows the winch line to drop trained personnel and equipment directly down from the helicopter in rugged terrain where landing would be difficult or impossible,” said Dr. Smart.
“VSAR has the only non-military winch line helicopter rescue in the country, and the helicopter has been used successfully to extricate injured skiers at SilverStar in difficult to access terrain.”
Dr. Smart can attest to the life-saving benefits of helicopter rescue. Last year, he took part in a dramatic rescue of a snowmobiler experiencing a heart attack stranded in minus 10 degree weather on Hunter’s Range.
With the helicopter, the patient was being treated in hospital within two hours of the initial call. “A ground rescue would have taken
12 to 14 hours, and the patient wouldn’t have survived,” said Dr. Smart.
Dr. Smart notes the tremendous support from SilverStar’s Director of Operations, Brad Baker, in bringing these remarkable services to the ski hill. “We have an ICU bed, and can run cardiac arrest and major trauma resuscitation. We are equipped to manage just about anything that comes through the door,” he said.