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Blackout in Thorung Phedi

April 30, 2018
Categories: Member Testimonials

Eddie Tews (R) with a Kathmandu vendor

Eddie Tews was trekking in the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal.  He had arrived at the village of Thorung Phedi, his last stop before he would attempt the Thorung La pass, the highest point on the Annapurna Circuit.

While entering the bathroom at his lodge in Thorung Phedi, Eddie passed out. When he regained consciousness, he wasn’t sure what had happened. His best guess was that his blackout was caused by the high altitude.  

Then Eddie noticed pain in his lower back, pain that gradually worsened and spread up and down the right side of his back. He also noticed his chin was bleeding slightly. A few hours later, when his pain had not subsided, he knew he needed help.

Eddie told the lodge owner that he needed an evacuation, but language difficulties prevented a call for help.  Eddie was able to message his mother back in the United States, asking her to contact Global Rescue.

After initial communication challenges at the lodge, Eddie was able to communicate with a Global Rescue senior medical specialist. After a review of Eddie’s symptoms, the Global Rescue medical team determined that Eddie required an evacuation and immediately arranged a helicopter to transport Eddie from the village to Kathmandu, where an ambulance would be waiting to bring him to the hospital for evaluation.

 “It was a relief,” Eddie recalled, knowing that Global Rescue was sending help. “I had a very rough night after the accident, not only with the injury, but also with the cold and the altitude.”

At the Kathmandu hospital, Eddie was examined by a doctor. The Global Rescue medical team reviewed his medical records and kept in close contact with Eddie and the doctor to ensure that Eddie’s treatment was appropriate. Global Rescue continued follow up with Eddie after his release to be sure his recovery was progressing as expected.

 “It would be difficult to overestimate how grateful I was at the time to be in such good hands.”

When he signed up as a Global Rescue member, Eddie never expected to need medical assistance during a climb.  “On the [Annapurna Circuit], one sees about four or five helicopters per day coming up the valley to make a rescue.  I would always think on those occasions, ‘That’s not going to be me.  I don’t care how slowly I have to take it, how many rest days, but I’m not going to end up in a helicopter.’  But, it turns out that life has its own agenda.”

“It’s tough to imagine [a service] that would be more professional, compassionate, thorough, and competent than Global Rescue,” Eddie concluded. “I could never possibly sing its praises loudly enough.  I was in a VERY bad way, and Global Rescue was a true godsend when I really needed one.  So much respect and gratitude!”

Eddie is considering a return to the Annapurna Circuit in the spring of 2018.

Eddie (L) with friends in Pokhara

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