A rescued hiker who died after he was lost overnight in Mount Rainier National Park has been brought back to life with help from his medical team, the Seattle Times reported.
Michael Knapinski, of Woodinville, died in the emergency room at a Seattle hospital after being airlifted off the mountain last Sunday.
The medical team performed hooked him up to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine, which pumped blood out of his body into a heart-lung machine that removed carbon dioxide and then pumped it back into his body.
Knapinski's heart had stopped working for 45 minutes, however, two days after he was brought into the hospital, the hiker woke up and is expected to make a full recovery.
The 45-year-old remembers very little about what happened on the day of his accident but says: "I think I fell" while attempting to snowshoe to an area on the south slope of the mountain.
A hiker who spent the night lost in Mount Rainier National Park came "back from the dead" after his heart stopped for 45 minutes following his rescue.
Michael Knapinski, 45, from Woodinville was airlifted to the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle on November 8 after he was found unconscious in a river drainage basin on the edge of the mountain, the Seattle Times reported.
Although he arrived with a pulse, Knapinski went into cardiac arrest shortly after and died while in the emergency room.
Dr. Kenelle Badulak, who was one of the first to start treating him, told the Times that Knapinski died while he was in the ER. Doctors had "the unique opportunity to try and save his life by basically bypassing his heart and lungs, which is the most advanced form of artificial life support that we have in the world," he said.
The medical team hooked him up to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine. It pumped blood out of his body into a heart-lung machine that removed carbon dioxide from the blood and then pumped it back into his body.
While doctors were working on him, Knapinski's heart stopped beating for 45 minutes.
After the medical team managed to stabilize Knapinski, he woke up two days later, in what the medical team has called a miracle.
Trauma nurse Whitney Holen, who was at the hiker's bedside when he first opened his eyes, described the moment as one of her career highlights.
Holen told the Times that the first thing Knapinski wanted to do was to call his family.
"He was crying and they were crying, and I'm fairly sure I cried a little bit," Holen said, according to the Times. "It was just really special to see someone that we had worked so hard on from start to finish to then wake up that dramatically and that impressively."
Knapinksi went on a snowy hike with a friend on the morning of Saturday, November 7, and had planned to snowshoe to Paradise, an area on the south slope of Mount Rainier.
His friend wanted to continue on skis to Camp Muir, before heading back to the Paradise parking lot, where the two arranged to meet.
When Knapinski didn't make it back to the parking lot by the evening, his friend reported him missing.
Three National Park Service teams set off searching for Knapinski through the night, although winter conditions and temperatures that dropped to -8 degrees Celcius made it difficult.
Helicopters finally found an unconscious Knapinski in the Nisqually River drainage, about a mile upstream from the Glacier Bridge, the park said.
Knapinski told the Times said the last thing he remembers is taking baby steps down the mountain. "I'm not sure what happened. I think I fell," he said, noting bruises and scrapes all over his body.
He also said the last thing he remembers is taking baby steps down the mountain. "I'm not sure what happened. I think I fell," he said, noting bruises and scrapes all over his body.
Even though Knapinski still has some medical issues — his skin was burned from frostbite and his heart is still struggling to circulate blood — the medical team at the hospital believes he will make a full recovery.
"He came back from the dead. … Maybe not medically quite correct, but his heart wasn't beating for more than 45 minutes," Dr. Saman Arbabi, the medical director of Harborview's surgical intensive-care unit, told the Times. "It's amazing."
Read the original article on Insider