Call for Responsibilty! Baja Races Emergency Response FAILS AGAIN, Baja Racing News.com Gets To The Bottom Line! Favortism...Calls on Bob Steinberger to STEP DOWN NOW! ...Baja Racing Crashes, Medical Responses and Desert Off-Road Racing Impacts
SPECIAL RADIO LIVE! Shows... Behind the Baja 500 "race-accidents spin"
Last Night Rick L Johnson tried to spin his way out of the facts! And we learned, they were filming their race car at the same time! What Really Happened To Rick L. Johnsons Wife in Baja Mexico?...wearing no seat belt and no verification of insurance coverage after an accident, with her husband, Rick L Johnson at the wheel. 'General' company had to step in and provide insurance to get the life-flight to San Diego.
Does Rick L Johnson realize this IS NOT what SCORE wants, because the exposure of the real risks IS NOT "promotive" of desert off-road racing in Mexico?
Here's the show from Monday, July 11, 2011
El Vigia Newespaper: "Preliminary reports indicate that the crash occurred after the driver of a pickup truck Ford F150 Lobo invaded the opposite lane of the road and was just then when compact car hit a Toyota Camry."
Racer David Caspino chimes in:
"Being a paramedic since 1982, I know that Score is top notch when it comes to extrication, prehospital emergency care and transport."""
Spectator and Racer comments:
Welcome to the Desert Off-Road Racing community response to this reporting:
Original Video - More videos at TinyPic
The Original Story:
|Gilberto Ramirez Jr., the forgotten racer|
It's a desert off-road race in Mexico! So, if you're a racer and get injured and no-one comes for you...guess what the racers say is the rule. "You're screwed."
At the recent Baja 500 held in Ensenada, Baja, Mexico, another race generated medical emergency failed for at least one young quad racer, when his repeated calls for medical help fell on deaf ears and were forgotten. BajaRacingNews.com has the full story.
The Baja 500 2011 Desert Race Medical Emergency Failures
A case study of the shortcomings of Emergency Medical Responses, during desert off-road races, in Mexico
SCORE and its minions has promoted a culture of cover-up and because it's a business, it lowballs its medical service costs. Like, the 'Medical Director' is an unpaid volunteer. Much More, later.
The core sponsors of SCORE, HONDA, BFG Tires, et al., know the truth. The chances of death in the culture of the Baja races THEY put on in Mexico, are very high. Even HIGHER when you look carefully at each race and look into the details of what three people do, during those races.
The three people, critical to observe during races, to see into the real safety net the racers are counting on for Emergency Medical Safety. 1. The 'Medical Director of SCORE'. 2. Hal Andreoli, (Instant1) and 3. The race radio relay operator of SCORE, Bob Steinberger. MORE LOADING TODAY>>>
One trophy truck driver said, "It's a race, SHIT happens". "Sal Fish is an old man and been doing business this way for years, he doesn't want any more money going to the racers, even for their safety". "Sal just wants to retire". These comments coming from a 'safety oriented' trophy truck team owner, who recently has spent some time looking into the Baja races and the Baja 500 in particular.
Earlier in the day, 5a crashed somewhere on the downside of the summit. The 5a rider had a broken wrist and was looking for medical attention. As it unfolded, he hitched a ride on the Pfluger truck and the plan was to get to our pit for medical attention. Well, we waited, waited, and waited, for a while. We finally figured he wasn’t going to make it when we saw TT#28. Alan was cruising and drove right passed our pit with the 5a racer, the signature “HANG LOOSE”, and kept on going………Okay, a couple hours later we see a light off in the distance. Seemed like it was a ways out and the light wasn’t getting any bigger???? Here comes a lone 5a chase rider in the dark with LED flashlights duct taped to his bike and helmet…He was looking for the 5a bike left by the injured rider. Anyway, he wanted to get to Baja Pits 4 so as he was leaving, somehow the topic of having a bowel movement in the desert came up…this guy proceeds to tell us that he had never taking a dump outside until last year’s 1000. He raved at how good it felt…NICE!!! Here’s where the story gets strange…I’m serious!!!
Just before midnight, we heard a scratchy transmission on Weatherman stating the following in a panicked voice, “Weatherman, Weatherman, I have an emergency!”…. The person reporting was being “walked on” by many as radio traffic was still a little busy. He tried numerous times to reach weatherman without success. I figured if we could hear him cleanly, he’d be able to hear us. So I gave it a shot. Turns out, we’d need to relay for the next couple hours to WM as this chase crew was in an accident on the backside of the summit with no communication but a handheld radio. Initial reporting was sketchy and our main concern was for the injured rider. Weeding through misinformation, radio traffic, and finally tending to the riders, this is what we found out… Race 5a crashed and was taken to medical attention by another racer, thus leaving the bike. Later that evening, two 5a “chase” riders on one ATV with a backpack of parts were trying to recon and retrieve their race bike (on course). While on the summit, they recognized the race bike by the red light they used on front…they believe a local stole the ATV and was riding it backwards on the course toward them. One “chase” rider got off to wave him down and the stolen bike rider “gunned it” and plowed into the chase rider. They then watched their race bike ride up and over the summit backwards. The reporting rider’s main concern was getting help for his friend who was in pain. After a brief radio assessment and discussion, the 5a duo decided to try and ride tandem about 35-40 miles to our location. A couple hours later, the two made it to our pit and were tended to by our EMTs. Both riders were tired, one was battered and a little shock ridden, but nothing more. After some rest, fluids, and food, we found out their chase truck was waiting at Baja Pits 4 about 25 away. The two riders decided they were healthy enough to make it to BP4 to have the comfort of their truck and team members together.""
Because the Rick L. Johnson/Brenda Johnson incident ( a non-race crash, with one victim not wearing a seat belt!) at the time, was considered to be more important, at least one other medical emergency was forgotten.
|Gilberto and his Dad at contingency, before the start of the race.|
|Gilberto's x-ray of the severe injury, ignored by SCORE.|
|The stolen race quad, taken after the accident|
and felony ignorance from the SCORE radio relay system.
The Rick L. Johnson Incident impedes on race emergency protocols
BajaRacingNews.com has EXCLUSIVE 'race radio relay audio files' proving the race organizers radio relay operator and operations center, completely forgot about this medical victim, while frantically helping a racer friend, Rick L. Johnson, his wife and friends out of a non-race accident. Much of what we discuss here is what could have happened and what actually did occur.
What could have happened? Because Brenda Johnson was held in Mexico for two hours, in her condition, she's lucky to be alive.
The calls for assistance reached the radio relay operator an hour before the Johnson crash. The chopper that reached Brenda Johnson was meant for 5A. His emergency was then forgotten.
The Rick L Johnson Incident on Video at the scene in Baja Mexico
|California 200 Sanctioned Slaughter|
UPLOADING UPDATED STORY NOW! 6.22.2011
SCORE race relay, for emergency medical incidents, completely fails during the recent Baja 500. At least one racer is completely forgotten after his calls for help were documented. STAY TUNED...
Racing In Baja Mexico...The FAILURES...CLICK HERE
“This channel is code red. We’ve got an emergency at race mile 243. Checkpoint 2, go ahead,” says “the Weatherman” as he breaks into the airwaves.
“This is Checkpoint 2. We have a report of 18X rider down with a head injury and broken leg somewhere between race mile 240 and 255,” says a voice over the radio.
The Weatherman relays to all those listening, “OK. 18X rider down, head injury, broken leg, somewhere between race mile 240 and 255. Is there anyone in that area to respond?”
This is the typical form of EMS dispatch and response four days out of the year in Baja Mexico during the SCORE Baja 1000 Peninsula Run, the longest continuous off-road race in the world. The race, which was started 40 years ago, was originally called the Mexican 1000. The first race had only a handful of entrants. Since then, it has grown to include a field of hundreds competing in one of about 30 different classes of vehicles, from motorcycles to off-road trucks, quad all-terrain vehicles and even classic Volkswagen bugs.
The race occurs every November on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, a long, narrow piece of land that juts out more than 750 miles from Tijuana south to Cabo San Lucas. By comparison, this is roughly the same distance as the entire length of the state of California. The Baja 1000 crisscrosses the land to total more than 1,000 miles of racing, or approximately the distances between Portland, Ore., to San Diego, and New York City to Orlando.
Today the race is part of SCORE International’s Desert Championship Series, which consists of two races in Nevada and three in Baja (Baja 1000, Baja 500 and San Felipe 250). The Baja 1000 follows much of the same course as it has for 40 years, starting in Ensenada and ending in La Paz.
Some years it’s a “loop” race, meaning it starts and finishes in the same place—Ensenada. Regardless of where it finishes, it’s always approximately 1,000 miles of off-road racing over some of the roughest, dustiest, rockiest, most inhospitable and deserted land.
Although motor sports in the U.S. are tightly regulated, with volumes of guidelines for safety operations, the Baja 1000 doesn’t fall under such guidelines because of looser Mexican oversight. Additionally, because the race consists of off-road courses through miles of desert, mountains and fields, there’s no formal track or barriers to keep spectators away from the racing vehicles.
Most of the course has few, if any, spectators. But near the cities and towns, hundreds of people often line the course, some standing just feet away from 800-horsepower trophy trucks racing by at 60 mph. Occasionally, spectators are struck by vehicles while trying to reach out and touch them as they pass. Worse yet, dozens can be injured in seconds if trucks collide or veer off the course. Providing medical care for the racers and spectators is a unique challenge.
Covering a thousand miles of mostly uninhabited, sparse desert with a limited number of EMS volunteers is a challenge faced every year by race organizers. EMTs and paramedics comprise the ground teams. The medical support includes American EMS providers and some local Mexican EMS ambulances organized into teams and spaced out about one every 100–200 miles or so across the 1,000-mile race course.
Monitors, defibrillators and medications are in short supply, and the Americans often bring their own medical gear from the U.S. They often have large trucks capable of travel on the rigorous off-road course. In the event of major trauma, the paramedics can start IVs or intubate at a minimum.
The Mexican ambulances are positioned on the main highways and are typically incapable of off-road travel. They often keep ALS monitors and medications in the ambulances and the vehicles to respond to incidents that occur on or near the highway, or they meet another paramedic truck and transport patients back to Ensenada or another appropriate facility in Baja.
The other half of the medical support for the Baja 1000 comes in the form of helicopters. Two SCORE helicopters each carry a pilot, SCORE official and emergency physician. The kits the physicians carry include basic bandages, tools for laceration repair, IV supplies, rapid sequence intubation and pain medications, intubation equipment and supplies to establish a central line.
They also carry oxygen, a ventilator, backboards and splints. There’s no monitoring equipment besides a stethoscope and ones’ own senses. One helicopter also carries a hydraulic cutter and spreader unit used to help extricate drivers out of mangled metal frames.
Transporting patients in the helicopters (Astar AS 350 B2 or Bell Jet Rangers) can be tricky. If providers aren’t concerned about a C-spine fracture or feel the need for immobilization, patients are often transported in the back of the helicopter. When supine transport is necessary, the front left seat is removed and placed in back, and the patient positioned on the floor with their feet to the front of the aircraft.
It’s illegal to fly in Mexico after dark. And with limited ground lights and infinite hills, peaks and other obstacles, it isn’t safe either. This limits the effective use of helicopters and forces racers to rely on only the sparse ground medics for any injuries that befall them after sundown.
During the race, the radio traffic on the SCORE race channel is relayed and moderated by a person called “the Weatherman,” who sits atop Devil’s Peak—a 10,000-foot mountain, the highest point in northern Baja. The Weatherman keeps track of all vehicle locations and progress via radio, satellite Internet and satellite-phone contact with the providers stationed at the checkpoints and with race operations staff in Ensenada.
The same radio frequency is also used to announce emergencies and call for medical help. Pinpointing the location of the injured, and which medic team is closest, is a challenge without an enhanced 9-1-1 or computer-aided dispatching system.
Reports of injured drivers are much like the game of telephone: The actual location and injuries can be very different from what’s finally reported over the radio after the information is passed on from one driver to another, to a pit location then on to a checkpoint and finally to the Weatherman.
Many calls are responded to prior to the Weatherman’s intervention because the telephone game-style communications reach the nearest medic team first. Obstacles to transporting to the hospital, which may be hundreds of miles away, come from the isolated terrain and the riders themselves.
In many cases, the team evaluates and treats the rider, often releasing them to continue the race. (Imagine releasing your patient with broken ribs or even a pneumothorax to continue another 800 miles of a race.)
Given the distant separation of medic teams and the vastness of the course, one of the two helicopters often has the shortest response time. If the helicopter can land on scene, the patients are assessed there. Then, based on injury severity, time of day and location of the accident, the physician and crew must determine whether transport is necessary and what the best course of transport is.
Because the helicopter is a limited resource, prioritizing its use is important. The helicopter crew may transport directly to the Velmar Hospital in Ensenada or another appropriate facility if they’re farther south on the peninsula.
The crews may call and rendezvous with a ground crew or ambulance for transport to the hospital, or can call for use of the fixed-wing operated by Aeromedevac, which sits at the airport in Ensenada at the ready to transport the sickest American patients back to the U.S.
American racers are asked to have their U.S. passports with them on race day and keep them tucked away somewhere on their person. If they should need emergent air evacuation back to the U.S., it’s imperative they have their passport.
The race medical teams are there to provide medical care for racers and race team members. However, each year, providers see inevitable traffic accidents on the surface highways that involve spectators—both American and Mexican. These incidents are primarily managed by local Mexican EMS systems.
In 2009, the Baja races started requiring participant vehicles to carry a satellite tracking device made by International Racing Consultants (IRC). Inside the instrument is a global positioning system module, an Inclinometer, a G-Force Meter, an Iridium satellite voice/data modem and a microcomputer.
The IRC device records data every five seconds and transfers it every two minutes to the IRC communications center. Racers can press a button if they’re injured, and some models allow for voice communications similar to OnStar. This device has not only revolutionized vehicle tracking, but also allows for more rapid location and assessment of injured racers.
The Baja 1000 is a rugged endurance challenge—for the drivers who race it as well as for those who provide medical care for the event. The expansive and desolate landscape provides a unique setting for an EMS system, and it forces interesting constraints on those who provide care.
For more information about volunteering or providing medical care at SCORE Baja races, e-mail SCORE Medical Director Jeff T. Grange, MD, FACEP, an emergency physician at California’s Loma Linda University Medical Center. JEMS
Baja Tales #1
A Class 10 buggy crashed and high centered on a large rock in a pine forest at the 5,000-foot level, and one of the drivers couldn’t get himself out of the car. The rugged terrain in that area prevented helicopters from landing in the immediate area, so the SCORE crew was forced to land in a meadow about a mile away.
A motorcycle rider who had flown over the handlebars had a head injury and broken arm. Fortunately, his accident occurred close to a checkpoint and popular viewing spot for spectators and support crews. An off-duty paramedic from Arizona, who was part of a race support team and not officially with the SCORE medical crew, was standing nearby when the accident happened. He had some medical supplies with him and promptly put the patient in a C-collar and splinted his arm.
Of course, the paramedic wasn’t carrying a backboard with him, so he improvised, using duct tape to fasten the patient to a lined tailgate from a truck. The shorter length of the tailgate allowed the patient to easily fit across the back seat of the B2, rather than having to switch out the front seat, and he was flown to the Ensenada airport. Unfortunately, the door to the Aeromedevac plane wouldn’t accommodate the width of the tailgate, so the patient was transferred to a regular backboard prior to the flight to San Diego. It would’ve been a sight had this patient arrived in the emergency department of the trauma center strapped to the tailgate of a truck.
Tragedy befell the 2007 Baja 1000 when a helicopter carrying four people crashed after striking some power lines. Two passengers were killed instantly. Luckily, a ground rescue crew was a few hundred yards from the crash and saw the copter go down. They quickly cared for the other two occupants, both of whom were critically injured. The crew had immobilized the patients and started IVs on them by the time helicopters arrived.
On Aug. 14, an off-road rally race was just about to get underway. Starting at 7:30 p.m., the California 200 was a 200-mile, off-road rally race in the Lucerne Valley of the Mojave Desert in Southern California. The start/finish line was located approximately 125 miles from Los Angeles (225 miles from Las Vegas) by ground. The race was scheduled to be four 50-mile loops with a 7.5-hour time limit.
Unique to these off-road races is the lack of barriers along the course. Although spectator instructions had specified that bystanders should stay beyond 100 feet from the course, there was no effective enforcement, and people were able to come within feet of speeding vehicles.
Logistically, having dual paramedic teams or two mixed EMT-B/paramedic units for the event allows for simultaneous triage and treatment, and initiation of the incident command system (ICS) system with resource allocation. Most importantly, this incident underscores the importance of incorporating MCI training into continuing education programs.
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