On Saturday, November 12, 2011, Lieutenant Brian Henry was enjoying a weekend vacation trip at Hocking Hills State Park with his wife and friends. The group was enjoying a hike through the "Rock House" portion of the park. While at the cliffs forming the top edge of the Rock House, they were present when a 19-year-old male student lost his footing and fell over the cliff face, landing on the rocks more than 35 feet below with a loud crash.
Lieutenant Henry quickly made his way down to the crash site and discovered that the victim was unconscious with a 10-inch laceration to his head. The injury was so severe that the victimís breathing was abnormal and labored and his skull was visible. Lieutenant Henry directed one of the members of his group to find a location where cell phone reception was possible and call 911 for a life squad for a trauma alert and to prep for a life flight if it was available.
The victim presented with decorticate posturing, a sign of severe brain damage and a poor indicator for a long-term beneficial outcome. Recognizing this, Lieutenant Henry immediately took control of the situation and positioned the victim so that his airway was no longer blocked. He then called for assistance from bystanders; as luck would have it, three medical doctors were also present. Working together, they stabilized the victim, but it was obvious that they needed to get the victim out of the park to a place where EMS would be arriving to transport the victim to the emergency room and, if necessary, an operating room.
Lieutenant Henry organized the group of rescuers to carry the victim out of the woods over approximately one third of a mile on broken nature trails while still maintaining spinal stability and a patient airway. This decision alone saved extremely valuable time, which was imperative for the victimís best chance of survival.
The group met the arriving EMS crew and transferred care to the medics who were initially skeptical, but ultimately impressed with the level of care the victim received at the accident scene. The victim's injuries included sheering of the brain, a fractured left wrist and multiple lacerations to his body. Since the initial injury, Lieutenant Henry and his wife have kept in touch with the victim, who is expected to make a full recovery over the course of the next year.
~ Nominated by Captain Bryce Blair, Toledo Fire and Rescue Department