A hiker stranded by a broken leg in a remote part of California’s Shasta-Trinity National Forest acted as a doctor first, and a patient second, when the paramedic who flew in to rescue him last week was struck in the head by the blade of the rescue helicopter.
Dr. Jeremy Kilburn, an Air Force pulmonologist from Las Vegas, was hiking with a friend in a rugged section of the park near Big Bear Lake when he broke his leg and injured his ankle, according to the California Highway Patrol. The Highway Patrol sent two officers in a medevac to the area.
But when Officer Brian Henderson and paramedic Officer Tony Stanley arrived, the mission took an unexpected turn, one that would require Kilburn — who had served as a trauma surgeon in Afghanistan — to draw on his medical training.
Henderson turned off the helicopter’s rotor blade when they landed. Stanley got out, but stayed close to the chopper.
“The blade was slowing, but it was still moving,” CHP spokesman Lt. Scott Fredrick told msnbc.com.
As the rotors slowed, the blade sagged, and slammed Stanley in the back of the head. He collapsed, unconscious, instantly. Blood was coming from his shattered skull.