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Two Visitors Saved By Park Medics In Separate Incidents

Zion National Park

National Park News

Park medics saved two lives in separate incidents that occurred a week apart in early September. On the afternoon of September 6th, dispatch received a cell phone call reporting that a hiker was suffering from chest pain. Although the relayed cell phone calls were repeatedly dropped, rangers learned that the 54-year-old man, who had a medical and cardiac history, was on the Upper Emerald Trail about a mile from the trail head. Park medics Ryan McDonald-O’Lear, Cindy Purcell and Ray O’Neil reached him within 30 minutes of the first call and began providing care. A litter team arrived a few minutes later and began a carryout Due to the man’s medical history and condition, though, it was determined that a medevac was in order. The man was transferred to a helicopter within two hours of the initial call and flown to the cardiology center at Dixie Regional Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with an acute anteroseptal myocardial infarction and received a stent (his second).  Fourteen responders from the park were involved in his evacuation.  A week later, on September 13th, dispatch received a report of a concession employee, also with a significant cardiac history, who was experiencing a rapid heart rate and wasn’t feeling well.  The 34-year-old man previously had two valves replaced and a history of supra ventricular tachycardia. He’d tried for an hour to self-convert his heart rate back to a normal rhythm before requesting medical assistance.  EMT Logan Tucker responded along with McDonald-O’Lear and O’Neil. They found that the man was suffering from extremely high blood pressure and a heart rate of 280 beats per minute. He was still alert and oriented, but was complaining of weakness and exhaustion and was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center. The ambulance and medics were 15 minutes out from the hospital when they received medical direction from doctors to shock the man’s heart when he became lethargic and less responsive.  After the shock delivery, his heart rate converted to a normal rhythm. He was admitted and diagnosed with wide complex tachycardia.


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