American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Deep-Vein Thrombosis—Inadequate Medicaiton Supply, Alaska, Denali National Park, Mount McKinley, West Buttress

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2005

DEEP-VEIN THROMBOSIS-INADEQUATE MEDICATION SUPPLY Alaska, Denali National Park, Mount McKinley, West Buttress

On June 6, Anatoli Lakteonov of the same Russian team as above was brought by members of his expedition to the NPS Basecamp. Patient was observed to be visibly limping and in some distress. Examination of the patient’s right leg revealed minimum one-inch pitting edema distal to the knee, extending to mid-shaft tibia. Patient also had wrapped his leg with ace wrap from the groin to just below his knee. Pain was reported upon palpation to mid-femoral region. Also felt was a hard cord-like structure within the right medial femoral area. Diagnosis made was a suspected DVT (deep vein thrombosis) of the great saphenous vein. Dr. Dickey (Alaska Regional Hospital ER) was consulted and he agreed with the diagnosis and with the recommendation of immediate evacuation. These findings were reported to the IC at Talkeetna (Ranger Roger Robinson). Attempts were made to use a helicopter from the Alaska Air National Guard rescue unit, but Talkeetna Air Taxi ultimately carried out the evacuation. Patient was not medically escorted during the flight out, as it was determined that weather conditions would be unduly hazardous. Patient was met at the Talkeetna airport by NPS personnel and then transferred to a Life Guard helicopter for final transport to Providence Hospital in Anchorage, AK. Patient was definitively diagnosed as having a DVT and was admitted for treatment.

Analysis

The patient had a previous medical history of DVTs and pulmonary embolisms. During the climb, he was taking prescribed blood thinners, but did not have a supply adequate for the duration of the climb.

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