NBC News’ Morgan Chesky Reveals He Was Hospitalized After 'Scary' Hike
NBC News correspondent Morgan Chesky opened up about the scary and surreal experience he had while hiking in Zion National Park earlier this week.
On Wednesday, Chesky, 37, revealed he was admitted to nearby Cedar City Hospital after suffering a medical emergency in the famed Utah park.
In a statement shared alongside a series of photos, Chesky detailed his experience recovering from high altitude pulmonary edema, when fluid builds up in the lungs and prevents oxygen from moving around your body. He said the incident occurred less than 24 hours after he began his "painstakingly planned" trip.
The trip began normally, with "a sunrise hike at Bryce Canyon," that was supposed to be "followed the next day by Zion, alongside a legendary crew." But after making headway through the canyon, Chesky became feverish.
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At the time, the Emmy Award-winning journalist shrugged it off, thinking it was nothing some sleep wouldn't solve. But the following day, a few miles into the hike at Zion, Chesky couldn't catch his breath.
He managed to finish the trail with the help of his uncle, who grabbed his backpack at some point, and although he was too weak to celebrate, his symptoms weren't enough to cause concern considering he's "hiked tougher trails at higher elevations." So he took some Tylenol and went back to sleep.
But when he woke up feeling worse, Chesky decided to get checked out at the local urgent care, where professionals tested his blood oxygen saturation (pulse ox) and discovered it was well below the normal rate of 95-100 percent, reading 58.
"I was in the back of an ambulance, on oxygen, with no idea what was wrong," he recalled in the April 26 post.
After being rushed to the hospital, he underwent a CT scan and bloodwork that showed fluid in his lungs and a stressed cardiac system, leading doctors to diagnose him with H.A.P.E: High Altitude Pulmonary Edema.
Medical professionals he spoke with also offered insight into what could have caused the "scary as hell ordeal," blaming the change in elevation for exacerbating a "cold he may not have noticed" before hiking, allowing his lungs to fill up with fluid and making it harder for his heart to pump.
He noted that the symptoms would have eventually caused him to pass out or go into cardiac arrest if untreated. And although he isn't home yet, he said that after "4 hours, high flow oxygen, blood thinners, and stellar care," he was back to feeling like himself.
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