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Forearm wrap for fractures
By Tom Zavelson, M.D.

It was 1830 hours and I was sitting on our flybridge, awaiting the sunset, when I heard a knock on our boat. I looked down and saw a gentleman standing on the dock with an expression of fear. He yelled up to me explaining that someone told him that they thought I was some t

A good thick magazine and a belt can come in handy when you need to stabilize an injury. And don’t forget the R-I-C-E!

ype of physician and that his wife was hurt. I could not hide, so I came down and followed him to his sailboat where I learned that his wife (after two martinis) failed to navigate the first step of their companion way and fell into the cabin. She was holding her left arm, was pale and in obvious discomfort.  There was a mild bowing of her forearm, no  lacerations and a good pulse.  I informed the captain that his wife had an apparent fracture of her forearm and that I needed some ice and a copy of PassageMaker magazine. 

He got me some ice which I applied to her elevated arm and then said, “What the hell is PassageMaker magazine, I’m a sailor!”  I removed a copy of Sail from the table and asked him for his belt. As he unbuckled and began to remove it, he had a very suspicious look on his face. I then positioned the magazine under his wife’s forearm and held it in place with several wraps of his belt. Next was a trip to the Emergency Room where the diagnosis was confirmed and her arm casted.  

A fractured extremity needs to be immobilized after reassurance that there is good circulation of blood.  It is very important to check for pulses before anything else is done.  Follow this with elevation, ice packs and then immobilization.  Remember
“R-I- C-E”—Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. A magazine makes a perfect forearm splint so keep some around, and don’t let your pants fall off when you remove your belt.

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