Jump to content

Recommended Posts

We just got back from summer camp, my first one as SM. On our last night, a scout cut himself in the knee with his knife. He claims to have treated the wound himself correctly. He did not notify an adult. The next morning was return day and his knee was swollen. Upon arriving home his dad had to take him to the ER and he is on antibiotics. He will be fine, but I am wondering if your troop has policies as to who can treat a wound and if adult leaders need to be notified about any injury.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there anything in the BSA first-aid materials about self-treatment? At a glance most of the rank-related first-aid stuff is practical application of skills/techniques to others in need of help, but I don't know if it is ever mentioned anywhere what to do with a self-treated injury/wound.

Short of anything in the books about this, I'd say a general unit rule about "all injuries involving use of first aid supplies must be reported to an adult."

Aside from the obvious need for this kind of reporting in this case, it's also a practical matter of maintaining the troop first aid kit. If scouts are taking stuff from the kit and no one else knows, stuff could be depleted when it is needed next time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, CarlosD said:

We just got back from summer camp, my first one as SM. On our last night, a scout cut himself in the knee with his knife. He claims to have treated the wound himself correctly. He did not notify an adult. The next morning was return day and his knee was swollen. Upon arriving home his dad had to take him to the ER and he is on antibiotics. He will be fine, but I am wondering if your troop has policies as to who can treat a wound and if adult leaders need to be notified about any injury.

Even when treated correctly, a wound can still become infected. 

The Scoutmaster should always be notified about accidents and wounds incurred on a scouting activity. Boys will not always do this. They don't want to get in trouble for messing around or behaving in an unsafe manner.

Back in the day, when I was a Scoutmaster, it would have been nearly impossible for a boy to keep an injury like this a secret. We would have spotted it when the boy was in the showers. With YP guidelines (and the emphasis on protecting a boy's privacy), it is entirely possible that a boy could hide an injury like this from the adults.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, CarlosD said:

We just got back from summer camp, my first one as SM. On our last night, a scout cut himself in the knee with his knife. He claims to have treated the wound himself correctly. He did not notify an adult. The next morning was return day and his knee was swollen. Upon arriving home his dad had to take him to the ER and he is on antibiotics. He will be fine, but I am wondering if your troop has policies as to who can treat a wound and if adult leaders need to be notified about any injury.

Summer Scout camp, lots of fun, lots of "growing up"....

 

He accidentally hurt himself . His parents noticed the injury when they picked up their camper.  He said he did NOT tell an adult when it happened, treated himself "correctly".  Within 48 hours of his injury, his family took him to an ER and he is now on antibiotics, under a physicians care.   Have I got all that right?   

When, exactly, as the SM did you become aware of this injury?   What actions (report to camp authorities, , professional examination, treatment, etc.)  did YOU, the adult authority,  do ?

How forgiving, understanding is the family?  How old, experienced is the Scout?  How afraid of punishment  for doing something "stupid" is the Scout?   Lots of collateral considerations here.   Do you have a family lawyer?  Just thinking out loud here.....   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@CarlosD welcome back from your first time as "the guy!"

1. Don't beat yourself up about this. Trust me, it could be worse. Thank the parents for keeping you in the loop about it. And, yes, let the camp director and your district executive know. Sometimes when a scout does something like this, it is exactly as the scout described. But sometimes, it might have involved more scouts either purposely or by accident. The only way you'll know is to ask broader questions. And the only way you can do that across all the other troops who've been to camp is to let them know. If yours is the only report, it will get filed and be just one more statistic. But if there's a second one like it from the same week they might catch on to it and avert a larger problem.

2. We had a different situation, but same indirect reporting.  So ... in addition to addressing the primary issue, we committed some time at a subsequent meeting having a scoutmaster conference with each scout. It basically went, "We just wanted to let you know, that you guys can trust us. You can let us know if something isn't going right. And if we need to deal with it, we won't make a big scene and single you or your buddies out."

That got us some constructive feedback ... especially from some scouts who thought their buddy was going to let us know about the situation. Those scouts learned about communication gaps, and the others seemed to be a bit more responsive in keeping us in the loop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Boys, LOL, men are by nature not detail people. Sometime they, LOL, we will assume the best and basically ignore injuries. I'm looking at a few scouting scares on my fingers as I type through the arthritis. Usually, with something like this, the adult leadership comes up with kind of a policy for everyone to note. Doesn't have to be a written policy, but a mental process that if an injury has bleeding or protruding bone, the responsible adult needs to be told so they can determine what, if anything, needs attention. I would make it a troop policy for everyone, not just the scouts. 

Barry 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would make sure that your scouts know that they should report it. About your question for who can administer first aid, I believe anyone can. I don’t think there are age restrictions, I am the highest certified in my troop but I am a scout. 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, ItsBrian said:

I would make sure that your scouts know that they should report it. About your question for who can administer first aid, I believe anyone can. I don’t think there are age restrictions, I am the highest certified in my troop but I am a scout. 

Point well taken.

Many of the adult scouters in our troop are quite weak in basic scouting skills, including first aid, while we have youth who hold Red Cross certifications, Wilderness First Aid, etc.

This is particularly true with regard to water rescue skills. Our troop has exactly 1 adult with any real lifeguard experience and BSA Aquatic Supervision training, while most of the rest just have the simplistic Safety Afloat and Safe Swim Defense.  On the other hand, we have several scouts who have earned their Lifesaving merit badges and a couple with BSA Lifeguard and even summer job experience as a lifeguard. Those scouts are much more qualified to actually recognize an incident and respond quickly and correctly than would most of the adult scouters in the troop.

Being an adult does not automatically endow one with skills and wisdom.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with those that say don't beat yourself over this, @CarlosD.

First of all, while the scout may have gone to the emergency room, it wasn't an emergency. The ER is where you go when you're in so much pain you can't fill out the insurance info, or you might die if left un attended. A swollen knee is not that. Urgent care would have been fine. Urgent care is also the place where broken arms are put in a cast. Would you be upset over a broken arm on a campout? For your first campout as SM, yeah, I guess. But you'll get used to it. I had a troop guide sledding with a new scout and he figured out how to hit the one rock on the whole hill. New scout broke his leg. It was so much work to get him camping I was sure he was never coming back. Well, he's still in the troop and he's growing up just fine.

Second, nobody mentions how serious this cut really was. If this scout was cutting raw chicken with his knife before he stuck it in his knee then it could have been a slight scratch and he could have gotten an infection. You can't prevent all problems. In fact, most problems are an opportunity to teach. Does he really know how to clean a wound? Does he need to re learn how to use a knife? Don't beat up on the scout either. It's just a case of "hey, since all this happened, let's review a few things." You now have one of many good stories to tell. Enjoy the adventure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, CarlosD said:

We just got back from summer camp, my first one as SM. On our last night, a scout cut himself in the knee with his knife. He claims to have treated the wound himself correctly. He did not notify an adult. The next morning was return day and his knee was swollen. Upon arriving home his dad had to take him to the ER and he is on antibiotics. He will be fine, but I am wondering if your troop has policies as to who can treat a wound and if adult leaders need to be notified about any injury.

Sounds to me like the boy didn't want to lose a corner of his Totin' chip.  My troop had no policies about it.  I don't see the big deal.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, ItsBrian said:

I would make sure that your scouts know that they should report it. About your question for who can administer first aid, I believe anyone can. I don’t think there are age restrictions, I am the highest certified in my troop but I am a scout. 

I say the scout treating him self is fine. Like Brian says many youth have more experience and training in 1st aid than the adults. Make it a point to notify SE and Camp Director. Also tell the scouts that they should always let an adult leader or SPL know about injuries even if the were self treated no matter how small they are

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, chief027 said:

I say the scout treating him self is fine. Like Brian says many youth have more experience and training in 1st aid than the adults. Make it a point to notify SE and Camp Director. Also tell the scouts that they should always let an adult leader or SPL know about injuries even if the were self treated no matter how small they are

Agreed. Any small cut/injury could turn into an infection and become worse. There’s also the possibility of the scout didn’t treat it properly and still didn’t report it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a leader you can only treat what you know about.  Also I would not be too concerned about the antibiotics.  That may be a CYA by the ER.

Could be a good learning experience for the troop that all injuries need to be reported to the leaders so proper care can be provided.  That's why we have the big honking medical kit (smaller one for backpacking) on all outings

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×