Friday, January 22, 2010

Neck and Neck

An argument heard at least now and then at gatherings of those who at least think themselves savvy in the ways of wilderness medicine concerns the effectiveness of improvising a cervical collar with a SAM Splint ( Whether you are pro or con, take a look at Wilderness and Environmental Medicine (Volume 20, Number 2, 2009). You'll be able to read a report on a study done by McGrath and Murphy comparing a Philadelphia cervical collar (used on ambulances) with a collar improvised with a SAM Splint. The results, briefly stated, suggest the SAM Splint, used according to the directions that come with the device, are, once again at least, as effective as the Philadelphia collar. The study, in case you're interested, tested motion of the neck in extension and side to side. Personally, I have been teaching use of the SAM Splint as an improvised cervical collar for just about 25 years. I will continue to do so--but with renewed confidence.

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