Letter: Peninsula emergency response applauded

Peninsula emergency response applauded

I want to thank the people of the Kenai for being so prepared for emergencies. I came last week to fish the Kenai and was joining Denny Crum, our Hall of Fame basketball coach at the University of Louisville. I also work at the University of Louisville as a professor at the medical school. He had introduced me to this area years ago and a group of us come to fish with him every September. He has been coming here annually for over 40 years.

As things turned out, our coach had a serious medical problem while fishing on the Kenai. Due to the alertness and quick action by guide Stacy Corbin of Mystic Waters Fishing, the problem was recognized immediately and action was taken that was critical. Stacy, with extraordinary rowing effort, got him off the Kenai expeditiously while his partner Simmons Adickes in an adjacent boat called EMS.

The boat arrived at Jim’s landing shortly before the ambulance arrived and a helicopter landed at a few minutes later. The EMS rescue team was superb. They determined that the helicopter was indeed the best choice for transport and about 18 minutes later our coach arrived in Anchorage to Providence Alaska Medical Center.

Since the problem appeared to be an evolving stroke, the stroke team took over and after rapid assessment and scans treatment was begin that averted the evolution of a more permanent and devastating stroke.

Denny has now returned home to Louisville and has made a complete recovery with resolution of all symptoms. In this case due to the alertness and preparedness of the Kenai River fishing guides, the well practiced skills of a great EMS team and ambulance helicopter service along with excellent medical professionals all went well. Our special friend and the hero of so many in Louisville doesn’t have to spend the rest of his life in a disabled situation. For a man who has given so much of his life to others this is truly an outstanding and blessed outcome.

Denny and his wife Susan, along with all of his fishermen friends thank you very sincerely for all of your efforts on his behalf. Also, thanks to the many people here in Alaska who stand ready to help those of us who come here to enjoy your great wilderness, but find ourselves in trouble.

Gary Vitale, MD

Louisville, Kentucky