American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Epileptic Seizure, Wisconsin, Devil's Lake State Park

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1988

FALL ON ROCK, EPILEPTIC SEIZURE

Wisconsin, Devil’s Lake State Park

On April 5,1987, Paul Sims (20) suffered an epileptic seizure while climbing. This caused him to fall. His belayer held him, but the seizure caused Sims to shake, and he then hit his head on the rock. His belayer lowered him to the ground. A doctor happened to be in the area, and she helped stabilize Sims until he was able to walk down the trail to a waiting ambulance, which took him to the hospital to treat his lacerations and abrasions. (Source: Judy Nigbor, Ranger, Devil’s Lake State Park)

Analysis

The victim was taking 100 mg of Dilantin three times a day, so he and presumably his partners were well aware of his medical condition. It is not indicated whether he was wearing a climbing helmet, but it would appear not. This item plus a full harness would help protect individuals with this condition to a much greater extent. (Source: J. Williamson)

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