EVAC blog

How Do I Determine the Urgency and Means of Evacuation for Abdominal Issues?

Question: How do I determine the urgency and means of evacuation for abdominal issues in remote or wilderness settings?

Survival Med’s Answer:

Your concern about abdominal issues and the need for evacuation is valid, especially considering conditions like appendicitis and bleeding ulcers. Assessing the urgency and mode of evacuation involves several factors.

For severe and sudden abdominal pain, especially if the victim can’t walk, calling for evacuation is obviously prudent.

However, many cases, even serious ones, present symptoms gradually, providing a window for reassessment before severity peaks.

For instance, appendicitis typically progresses over 12-24 hours, allowing time for evacuation decisions. While immediate and excruciating pain warrants evacuation, generalized complaints usually offer a few hours for reassessment before becoming severe.

Logistics of evacuation depend on location, symptom severity, victim’s mobility, and transport distance. Helicopter evacuation is often reserved for immediate and severe cases, while less urgent situations may involve hiking out.

For any evacuations due to abdominal pain, advising the victim not to eat and noting the time of their last oral intake is essential information to share with emergency services. This cautious approach ensures appropriate medical management during evacuation.