July 2, 2012
My husband has shared this story a few times recently.
A canyoneer was flown by helicopter to the ER. She had been climbing with two guys out in some canyons and were rappelling down a high, steep cliff.
It was the girl’s turn and somehow her rope had slipped and she started free falling. She was about 100 feet up from the ground. There were no other safeguards to stop her fall.
Her companions were fearful beyond panic. They were sure she would hit the ground and be dead. I would imagine that her life flashed before her eyes in those endless few seconds.
When her death appeared eminent, at about 10 feet from the ground, the rope bound up at the top and suddenly yanked her to a stop. She banged against the side of the rock wall with such force that it broke both her ankles. Her friends were immensely relieved that she was still alive. They were visibly shaken when they arrived about 45 minutes after her, to the ER.
Mike had some x-rays taken and splinted her fractures for follow up in another state. Otherwise, she was fine.
Moral of the Story: You can’t always know what the ultimate outcome of a given situation will be. Never stop praying!
March 18, 2011
Mike said he had a rock climber brought in to the ER that had fallen 20 feet and landed on his head. His gear had failed. Luckily the guy was wearing a helmet or he wouldn’t have lived. There was a huge crack in the helmet. He ended up having some bleeding around his brain.
Mike talks to family members of the injured patients, to tell them what’s going on, how serious it is, and what the potential results of the injury could be.
The guy’s father called from back East and ended up talking to a social worker. Mike was grateful for that, because the concerned parent was asking a lot of questions: “Is there anybody there that understands rock climbing injuries and the forces involved in rock climbing injuries and the treatment of rock climbing injuries, etc, etc, etc.”
Southern Utah is a rock climbing capitol, and St George gets the largest share of the injuries. The ER docs there have plenty of experience in that area. One of the docs happens to be a phenomenal rock climber himself.
Anyway, Mike was very relieved he didn’t have to defend the level of care in his ER for who-knows-how-long he might have been on the phone.
Moral of the Story: If you’re going to question the competence of a professional, at least be polite and/or discreet.