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Friday, January 20, 2012

Rescuers Consider Amputation to Save a Trapped Victim

Imagine as a rescuer that you might actually have to cut off a victim's limb in the field to potentially save that person's life.

That was what rescuers considered on New Year's Day, as they were trying to free 15-year-old Dion Latta, who was hanging upside down in a waterfall in Wanaka's Motatapu Gorge in New Zealand. His foot was stuck and twisted in a narrow crack, and he'd been sucking air from a pocket behind the water for more than three hours when the amputation was considered. Dion was also hypothermic.

Wanaka-based search and rescue volunteers, police and others weighed all their options as they desperately tried to extricate Dion. Regarding amputation, however, the general medical opinion was that the shock involved with such a procedure under those conditions could itself prove fatal. 

Breaking the flow of the icy water with their bodies, rescuers on rappel were finally able to free Dion, and he was then short-hauled out by helicopter. Unconscious, he was stabilized on scene and flown to Dunedin Hospital. Sadly, though, after the heroic effort to save him, the boy later died.

Read the story and view photos on

Related article:

Field Limb Amputations Used as an Extrication Option in Complicated Entrapments or Disaster Events

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