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An Unexpected Emergency in Kamchatka


June 25, 2019
Categories: Member Testimonials

Scott Sirles in Kamchatka before his trip was cut short by a dog bite

Global Rescue member Scott Sirles was traveling to a remote region of Russia in search of one thing – the perfect fly fishing spot fully teeming with king salmon and rainbow trout.

“I was going to Kamchatka to go fly fishing in the Ozernaya River, it was a beautiful setting,” Sirles said. “Everything was wonderful -- absolutely superb fishing, almost a fish every cast. There were no roads within 200 kilometers of us. The only way to get to it is to helicopter in. It’s truly wilderness.”

Accompanying Sirles and his group was a Russian Laika, a breed of hunting dog used to scare off any wandering grizzly bears who came too close to camp.

As Sirles headed to breakfast one morning, he noticed the camp dog sitting in front of the building.

“I reached over and scratched his ears and he was fine,” Sirles said. “He had a bunch of mosquitoes on the top of his nose. I thought I’d do him a favor and brush those mosquitoes off. Well, as soon as I did that, the dog latched on to my wrist.”

The dog’s bite left an inch-long gash on Sirles’ wrist that went nearly another inch deep. The wound damaged only one tendon, luckily missing any of Sirles’ arteries.

The two doctors in the fishing camp used an iodine-based solution to clean out Sirles’ wound before wrapping his hand in gauze. Sirles was later treated with antibiotics when his wound became red and swollen after another day of fishing.

Two days after the incident, Sirles woke to find his entire forearm red and swollen.

“I wasn’t really terrified. I’ve had incidents in the past where I ran a stick right through my hand when I was hunting years ago,” Sirles said. “My hand got infected and I walked into the hospital with the streaks going all the way up my arm. They put a few bags of antibiotics in an IV and sent me on my way.”

For Sirles, this time was different.

“This time, I’m thinking to myself that I’m out here in the middle of nowhere and need to get some bags of antibiotics. I knew if I stayed here, it was going to get worse. I might lose my arm, or it might kill me if the infection gets to my heart. I didn’t have any other choice. I had to call Global Rescue.”

After Global Rescue’s operations team spoke with Sirles about his condition, an evacuation was quickly organized to transport Sirles to Petropvalovsk-Kamchatsky – the nearest city with a suitable hospital.

Global Rescue also obtained Sirles’ medical reports while he was examined at the hospital to maintain constant contact with the doctors on location to ensure Sirles received proper care.

Sirles had developed a serious infection and needed to be sedated so doctors could operate on his hand to fully clean out the infection.

“If not for Global Rescue, I might have had a much worse infection or lost an arm,” Sirles said.

Following a brief hospital stay, Sirles flew back to his home in Oklahoma, where he made a full recovery. “Everybody was super at Global Rescue,” Sirles said. “They were always contacting me when they said they would and did everything they could. I wouldn’t go anywhere remote again without Global Rescue.”


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