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Thread: Went on a rescue turned recovery last night.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Fallon, NV
    Posts
    295

    Default Went on a rescue turned recovery last night.

    Just thought I'd like to share an interesting call with you guys. it's a long story, but some might find it entertaining.

    For a little background I am a Paramedic for a private ambulance company in Fallon, NV (about an hour east of Reno). We cover a total area of 5400 square miles of Churchill County as well as very frequent mutual aid responses to other counties further into the desert. We do all of this with two ambulances (2 wheel drive by the way) per day and we're up to 3200 calls this year. We have a volunteer fire department (which does not respond to any medical or even vehicle crashes unless we call them). We are also fortunate in this area to have NAS Fallon (home of Topgun) with an excellent fire dept and SAR helo. I was a firefighter for about a year, as well as a member of a SAR team in Reno for a little bit.

    SO...

    We were called at 1600hrs for a sheep hunter who was having chest pain. This man called his son who relayed the info to our dispatch. They were unable to get a hold of him as his cell phone was no longer active. His location as dispatch put it was "somewhere on the west face of the clan alpine mountains off bench creek road." Helpful indeed. My partner and I accompanied by one sheriff unit made our way to this dirt road which branches off the highway about 60 miles east of Fallon out in the snow capped, very remote desert peaks. We went up the very unstable, snow covered and now muddy road in our 2wd ambulance. About 10 miles in we turned around so we wouldn't get stuck. The sun was setting and we were unable to locate this man's vehicle which he was supposed to be a "couple of canyons north from". It was about 1700 when i spotted a blinking light about 1/2 mile off of the road and 1000 ft up a very steep mountainside. This was him, and it was amazing i saw him.

    Realizing we were not able to make it up this mountain or even close to the foot of it, we requested out SAR helo from the Navy base (a seahawk which i had the pleasure of flying in to Reno the previous week). They responded trying to assemble a crew. At about this time, we were met by some of this man's friends in an H1 Hummer. They told us he was alone. I had my doubts that even an H1 could traverse the very severe terrain across the 1/2 mile to the base of the mountain, but they did and proceeded to hike the 1000 ft of maybe 50 degree incline, which to my amazement, they also accomplished (great friends indeed).

    To shorten this story a little, the Navy reported they were now unable to fly, the medical helicopter (without a hoist) from reno turned around due to low fuel. This man's condition was deteriorating according to the friends via CB. Our only hope was to call the county SAR team and rely on 6 young ranch hand / cowboys to get to this man.

    The ground was now frozen, we had been here for 2 hours, the man was dying, and I had to get to him. We were discouraged from going, but why else do i do this job? The horses were loaded with our ambulance gear and I hopped on with one of the cowboys.

    We were able to make it across the 1/2 mile of rough desert to the base of the hill and about 100 yards up the mountain before it got too steep. Some of the best riders went on up and i trekked (with the dying man's son) the rest of the way carrying a backboard and some other equipment. I'm 25, in good physical shape, but proceeded to vomit after the 1000 ft of snow covered, jagged rocks.

    At near 6000 ft with the most amazing sky above, on a jagged hillside around a precariously placed campfire, his colossal big horn sheep kill, with his son, two friends, six cowboys and a paramedic, that man died. It was now 2000 hrs.

    The ground SAR team arrived at the road (now a little train of lights far below) but we told them we would handle the recovery. I have to hand it to those cowboys, most no older than 20. Real wild west kids. We packed down all of the gear, the deceased gentleman, and made it safely (albeit damn scary at times sliding towards a sheer 300 ft cliff, in the dark and snow) to the rescue crews below.

    I've had a lot of amazing experiences so far (yes even though I'm young, I'm well travelled growing up in a Navy family), but this was an adventure I'll never forget.

    -Tyler

    ------------------------------------------------------------
    2003 Tacoma Expedition rig

    1969 Plymouth Sport Satellite

    1967 Dodge W200

    1977 Dodge M886 Ambulance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    1,354
    You did everything you could for the patient, and more.....and thats all that counts.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,205
    Wow!

    www.africaoverland.org

    "Did the primary buffer panel just fall off of my Goram ship?"

    Kungaloosh!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    East Bay, CA
    Posts
    697

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Portland OR, W Bragg Creek AB
    Posts
    353
    Just remember to ALWAYS weigh the risks/benefits - for the whole team not just you and the patient. Which means you must know their capabilities and limitations under the current and possible conditions for the duration of the rescue. You may not be the IC but you still 'drive' the rescue effort as the lead medic on the rescue. Don't get tunnel vision.

    That said - Strong work. Glad you all made it back safely to do it again - so many things could have gone cattywompus (love that word!). Sometimes the best efforts fail - but the family will appreciate the efforts your team made.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Park City, Utah
    Posts
    3,486
    Very neat... I am really surprised you don't have a 4WD ambulance though...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Phx, Az
    Posts
    4,866
    I agree that it is amazing in that country you don't have 4wd....
    amazing story and it make me glad to work in a major urban ICU where I am warm and toasty waiting for your work to arrive
    cigar smoking, wilderness first responding, ham talking night nurse who is overland certified and a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.....
    now everyone say "so what where have you been lately?"

  8. #8
    Tyler,

    Your drive and determination to help a person in need will always be respected and appreciated by those involved.

    Keep up the great work.

    Luc

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Hamilton, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    868
    Quote Originally Posted by Youngunner View Post
    At near 6000 ft with the most amazing sky above, on a jagged hillside around a precariously placed campfire, his colossal big horn sheep kill, with his son, two friends, six cowboys and a paramedic, that man died.
    As odd as it seems,the outcome was not bad.A father died after a phenomenal hunt surrounded by his son,friends and 7 strangers who cared.Sometimes the best you can do is hold a hand providing comfort, a few kind words and care while someone passes on.
    John H.
    1970 Mercedes Unimog
    2004 F150 Heritage Supercab
    1974 Holiday 17' Travel Trailer
    It's not about the truck and it is not about the distance traveled. Get out there with whatever you have, meet people and see things. Push the envelope of your comfort zone and live.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Fallon, NV
    Posts
    295
    He certainly died doing the thing he loved the most. It was more frustrating that the navy base was so hesitant to send a helicopter. We have been having extremely foggy nights in Fallon and it was that way when we returned to town, but not at the time we requested a helo. That being said, this is an all weather, combat rescue helicopter that prides itself with flying in the worst of conditions and I recall seeing a lot of navy jets all over the sky too. It was very unfortunate because they really wasted our time as we waited for a yes or no. I'm sure that guy's friends would have tried to drag him down had they known nobody was coming.
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    2003 Tacoma Expedition rig

    1969 Plymouth Sport Satellite

    1967 Dodge W200

    1977 Dodge M886 Ambulance

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