The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced an 18-year old crewmember on Thursday, July 26th after he suffered a severe hand injury aboard the F/V PACIFIC HARVESTER. The vessel was located in Prince William Sound, Alaska at the time of the incident.
The F/V PACIFIC HARVESTER master called watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Anchorage command center to request a medevac as the crewmember had suffered a hand injury and was showing signs of shock. After consulting with the duty flight surgeon, a medevac was recommended. A Valdez station boat crew was dispatched and directed to the fishing vessel.
An emergency trauma technician treated the injured 18-year-old while he was in transit, then delivered him to emergency medical personnel awaiting his arrival at the Valdez pier.
“Having an ETT and first aid-certified crewmembers allowed us to treat the man’s hand while transporting him to the pier,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Gary Hutchison, the small boat coxswain during the case. “We train for emergencies like these and we hope he makes a speedy recovery.”
Hand injuries can be life-changing for crewmembers. Factors that may contribute to these types of accidents include lack of proper safety measures, negligence of fellow workers, unseaworthy vessels, and fatigue. Maritime employers are required by law to provide crewmembers with a safe place to work. Injured workers should follow these 6 steps if an injury occurs at sea.
Workers who are injured on fishing vessels have a right to benefits under Federal Maritime Law including the Jones Act. Injured crewmembers not only have the right to select their own doctors and lawyers but are entitled to specialized treatment in cases of serious injury.
Weather at the time of the accident was reported as 12mph winds and 1-foot seas with rain and overcast skies.