NPS Digest is reporting this morning that on July 10th, Shenandoah National Park employees responded to a report of a 71-year-old man experiencing shortness of breath and chest pain on Dark Hollow Falls Trail, one of the most popular and steepest trails in the park.
A ranger/medic provided patient care until a litter team arrived and transported the man by wheeled litter to the park’s ambulance. An air evacuation was delayed by weather, but a ground ambulance with a cardiac monitor responded from Rockingham County Fire and Rescue.
The man went into cardiac arrest in the park ambulance while en route to the rendezvous with the county ambulance. The ranger/medic and another park employee began CPR and shocked the patient twice with an AED. Rockingham County Fire and Rescue took over patient care upon their arrival.
Due to a break in the weather, the helicopter was soon able to land. The team was able to reestablish a pulse and the man was conscious when he was flown to a cardiac cath lab. Later that day, the park received a report that he was sitting up and talking.
The responding flight nurse congratulated park staff for doing a “fabulous job” in keeping the man going until the helicopter could arrive. The early intervention provided by Shenandoah staff indisputably saved the man’s life.
Hiking in the Smokies