American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Illness—Preexisting Condition Not Reported, Alaska, Mount McKinley, West Buttress

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2002

ILLNESS-PREEXISTING CONDITION NOT REPORTED

Alaska, Mount McKinley, West Buttress

On May 14, Chi-Hyeon Pack (27) was evacuated by helicopter from Mount McKinley due to symptoms of a gastrointestinal bleed. A few hours later he underwent surgery for a bleeding ulcer at the Alaska Regional Hospital. (See the May 4 report.)

Analysis

Upon investigation it was discovered that Mr. Pack had a history of GI bleeds. Many of his symptoms were consistent with AMS, so it is understandable that the climbers expected him to recover after rest at lower altitude. Given his prior medical history it was unfortunate that Mr. Pack did not recognize his symptoms for what they were when they did not resolve at lower altitude. The other team members in the Joyful Expedition were willing to evacuate Mr.

Pack, but due to the possible severity of his internal bleeding, it was decided to evacuate him by helicopter.

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