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Mission Briefs: November and December 2021


January 25, 2022
Categories: Safety, Health, In Action

Photo © Har Rai Khalsa, a winner of the Global Rescue 2021 Photo Contest

Alpha, delta and omicron — the coronavirus variants are making news media headlines spurring new and renewed travel restrictions by governments and health authorities. Nevertheless, travel through the winter holiday months of November and December climbed compared to the year before. As COVID-19 trepidations ebb and flow, pent-up desire to travel led to more people returning to travel. Global Rescue continues to answer the service needs of travelers, including for COVID-19, here and abroad without any disruptions. In a typical one-month period, Global Rescue completes hundreds of operations in dozens of countries and principalities. Below are highlights from some of our most recent operations in various locations.  

Frostbite in Mount Himlung, Nepal 

Suffering from frostbite on his face and hands after being stranded above 19,685 feet/6,000 meters in a snowstorm on Mount Himlung, a Global Rescue member needed rescue from Camp 2. Unable to walk and his vision blurred from snow blindness, the Global Rescue medical operations team initiated a helicopter evacuation. The member was safely transported to a hospital in Kathmandu where he was evaluated and given care. His vision was restored with no permanent damage to his eyes. He was released from the hospital with instructions to follow up for further surgical treatment of his frostbite. 

Machete Cut Hiking in Ecuador

Ecuador

A 43-year-old Global Rescue member was hiking in Llanganates National Park in Ecuador when he accidentally cut his right knee with a machete while clearing a path. His hiking partner performed first aid to stop the bleeding and contacted Global Rescue for help. Due to the rough terrain, there was no suitable helicopter landing site. Global Rescue medical operations arranged for a long-line rescue with a medical escort and ground transport from Llanganates National Park to Quito, Ecuador. The member was successfully evacuated and transported to a medical facility. His wound was treated and stitched closed and he is continuing his recovery from home.  

Medical Evacuation From Eritrea

Suffering from thrombocytopenia — a condition in which you have a low blood platelet count — a Global Rescue member in the northeast African country of Eritrea needed medical evacuation. The member was in a local hospital with limited resources in Amara, Eritrea, where she received a blood transfusion and a colonoscopy to rule out the cause of the bleeding. After 10 days in the medical facility, her treating physician recommended she receive further care in her home country hospital of choice. The Global Rescue medical operations team arranged the member’s return flight and that of her non-medical escort’s travel. The transport was successful and the member has remained stable. 

Motorcycle Mishap in Mexico

A 57-year-old Global Rescue member sustained a severe leg injury as a result of a motorcycle accident in Santa Rosalia, Baja Sur. He was transferred to a local hospital where an X-ray revealed a fracture of the distal third, left femur. The local treating physician recommended surgery and transfer to a higher level of care facility. Global Rescue medical operations doctors agreed and the member was successfully evacuated by jet to his home country hospital of choice in Austin, Texas.

Snow Blindness, Exhaustion Triggers Long Line Rescue

Ama-Dablam

Ama Dablam is one of the toughest Himalayan mountains to summit, and getting sick or injured at Camp 3 requires a long-line helicopter rescue. That was the case for an exhausted 36-year-old Global Rescue member who had successfully summited the mountain but began suffering from snow blindness in the left eye and shortness of breath during her descent. Global Rescue medical operations team members initiated the successful long line helicopter rescue. The member was evaluated and treated in a nearby hospital where she was diagnosed with left eye photokeratitis.  

Chest Pains on Mera Peak

Mera Peak is a mountain in the Barun sub-section of the Himalaya and, reaching 21,247 feet/6,476 meters, is considered one of the highest trekking peaks in the world. The conditions proved to be a challenge for a Global Rescue member who experienced dizziness, chest pains and shortness of breath during his summit attempt. With the help of his guide, the member descended to a lower altitude to help improve his symptoms. Despite some improvement, his oxygen saturation was dangerously low. After a night of rest, hydration, Ibuprofen and Diamox, his symptoms did not improve. The Global Rescue operations team commenced a helicopter field rescue. The member was successfully evacuated to a local hospital where he was evaluated and treated for mild high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE). He was subsequently discharged the same day with prescriptions for cetirizine and cough medicine.    

Motorcycle Crash in Peru

Peru-road

A Global Rescue member lost consciousness and suffered memory loss and mild neck soreness after an accident when his motorcycle went off the roadway into a ditch in Peru. The member was transported to a local clinic for initial evaluation. Global Rescue medical operations arranged for the member to have a bedside advocate while he was in the hospital. Treating physicians recommended moving the member to a Lima, Peru medical facility with a higher level of care. The member was initially diagnosed with CVA hemorrhage and was admitted to the ICU. After a few days, his condition improved, and he was deemed fit to fly back to his home country hospital of choice.  

Long Line Rescue on Ama Dablam

Experiencing severe difficulty breathing, headache and dizziness while in Camp 2, Ama Dablam in Nepal a Global Rescue member collapsed while he was receiving oxygen. Due to the steep terrain, a ground rescue was ruled out and a long line helicopter rescue was initiated by Global Rescue medical operations. The transport was successful and the member was evaluated and stabilized at a local medical facility before transport to a Kathmandu hospital with a higher level of care. The member was diagnosed with high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) with pneumonitis and was admitted overnight for observation and treatment. The member remained stable overnight and was discharged the following day.

Shoulder Injury After Falling Off A Motorcycle 

Falling off a motorcycle is never ideal, even if the two-wheeler is at a full stop. That’s what happened to a Global Rescue member who injured her left shoulder after rolling off a stopped motorcycle on an uneven road on Chachapoyas, Amazonas in Peru. She was taken to a medical facility where she was diagnosed with a fracture of her left humerus. Needing specialized surgical care, Global Rescue medical operations recommended evacuation to the member’s home country hospital of choice in Arizona, U.S. 

Gastrointestinal Emergency in Liberia

Monrovia,-Liberia

After being hospitalized in Monrovia, Liberia due to gastrointestinal perforation and bleeding, a 64-year-old Global Rescue member needed medical evacuation for further care. Global Rescue medical operations initiated an aeromedical transport for the member to a higher level of care hospital in Paris, France, where she was admitted for further care. An endoscopy showed two bleeding ulcers which were cauterized successfully. A few days later, the member was discharged and arrived at her home in the U.S. safely.  

Horseback Riding Accident in Idaho

Global Rescue medical operations responded to a member following a horseback riding accident that caused back and hip pain. The member was transported to the regional trauma center in Boise, Idaho, where he was evaluated and treated for his injuries. The member underwent surgery where the medical team placed a titanium rod in his left femur. He also sustained rib fractures and damage to his sternum. The member was certified fit-to-fly with a medical escort provided by Global Rescue and arrived safely in his home in Maryland. 

Bad Ski Landing in Austria

A bad landing while skiing during a training trip in Austria led to a badly damaged knee for a Global Rescue member. An MRI at a nearby orthopedic clinic and further evaluation by Global Rescue medical doctors revealed a severely broken knee, specifically a posterior edge fracture of the dorsolateral tibial plateau and a delicate impression fracture of the lateral one femoral condyle. There were also cartilage lesions on the lateral femoral condyle and an interstitial tear of the posterior horn of the medial meniscus. With his knee in an immobilizer, the Global Rescue medical operations team recommended an upgraded flight to his home country hospital of choice to provide ample legroom to elevate his leg during the flight. The member was successfully transported to San Diego, California.


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