Deer Hunters Need to Take Care
When Climbing Trees
(Nov. 18, 2005) — With gun deer hunting season set to open on Saturday, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin urge all hunters to take extra care when using tree stands. Each fall, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin’s spinal cord injury team treats hunters who have seriously injured themselves by falling out of trees.
“Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin have an outstanding spinal cord injury program and we do everything we can to help the patients we see,” said Merle Orr, MD, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Medical College of Wisconsin and a physician at Froedtert Hospital. “But these injuries are preventable. We would prefer that hunters have a safe experience this season and never need our services in the first place.”
Most hunters know and practice the basics of safe hunting:
- Always hunt in groups or make sure someone knows where you are and when you are supposed to return.
- Carry a walkie-talkie or cell phone to let people know if you are in trouble.
- Use a harness system when climbing into tree stands to prevent falls.
- Check and recheck your equipment to ensure that it is in working order.
Last year, Franklin resident Dave Schieble was seriously injured when his tree stand disengaged from the tree. Schieble was paralyzed from the neck down after falling about 12 feet.
“Many hunters return to the same deer stands year after year,” said Schieble. “My lesson is that you have to take the time to inspect everything you rely on for safety and that includes the fasteners connecting the stand to the tree.”
When hunters injure themselves in the woods, it can take hours, even days, for them to be rescued and taken to a hospital. Unable to reach his cell phone, Schieble lay on the ground shouting for help for hours before he was found. Paramedics in an all terrain vehicle brought him out of the woods and he was taken by helicopter to Marshfield Hospital. He was later transferred to Froedtert Hospital where he has been undergoing rehabilitation therapy for about ten months.
Nearly a year later, Schieble has recovered the use of his arms and legs and he is walking again though he is still receiving therapy at Froedtert Hospital.
The Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Spinal Cord Injury Program provides individualized, comprehensive care to patients with spinal cord injuries and their families. It is the only spinal cord injury program in Wisconsin to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).
For more information, contact Ted Bobrow at 414.805.9776 or 414.590.8740 (pager).