Friday, November 18, 2011

Woman rescued after suffering epileptic fit in disused mine

A woman who suffered an epileptic fit while caving in a disused mine was carried to safety after a marathon six-and-a-half hour rescue mission. The woman was hundreds of feet underground with friends in Shropshire when the incident happened at around 9.30pm yesterday. West Midlands Ambulance Service said an ambulance, an incident support officer and the Trust's Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) attended the scene, at a disused mine in Snailbeach, near Minsterley.

A spokeswoman said: "The woman, believed to be 24 years old, had been enjoying her hobby of caving with a group of friends in the mine when she suffered an epileptic fit.

"Fortunately, the woman had medication with her for her epilepsy which the group quickly administered. Whilst some of the group stayed with the woman, others made their way out of the mine to dial 999 and await the arrival of ambulance crews at the entrance to the mine shaft."

The spokeswoman said it took the rescue team almost an hour of walking and climbing to reach the woman. She added: "Once with the patient, the HART paramedic assessed and stabilised her condition. As well as suffering several fits, the woman was complaining of pain in her back and side after reportedly slipping during the fit.

"The paramedic and mine rescue team immobilised the woman in a rescue stretcher and carried her to the bottom of The Chapel Shaft, which is about 300ft vertically up to the surface.

"A tripod rope system was set up at the surface and the woman was winched up with the doctor, a task which in itself took around 30 minutes.

"Once at the surface, the woman was taken to Royal Shrewsbury Hospital by land ambulance for further assessment and treatment.

"The whole rescue operation took six and a half hours."

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PS : Having read this news I am deterred from giving rock climbing a try. Though I can be a risk taker in many instances, to imagine myself suffering from an epileptic fit while dangling or plunging to death during an indoor rock climbing activity really scares me out of my skin.

Flashes of a past seizure that happened just at the edge of a descending escalator were enough to send shrivels down my spine. I cannot imagine what could have happened to me if I had taken a step or two down the escalator. Would I have survived that epileptic fall? Would I be critically injured? Whatever the outcome, only God knows and I like to acknowledge God spared me that possible near death or sudden death encounter ( Serene Low )