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  Everest 2006 Team No Limits: Team No Limits, This morning we awoke and Doug came into the dining tent complaining of nausea...


This is Larry reporting from Lobuche. This morning we awoke and Doug came into the dining tent complaining of nausea, a severe headache, blurred vision, and dizziness. We immediately became very concerned because these symptoms are suggestive of High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE). Hace is a life threatening condition and is best treated by immediate decent to a lower altitude. We treated Doug in base camp and then he and I began our decent to a lower altitude. We are now stationed at 16,500 feet. With medication and descending to a lower altitude, Doug is showing some improvement. He is now able to take in liquids and has experienced no further vomiting. Throughout our expedition, Doug has had intermittent headaches and has shown signs of Acute Mountain sickness. His symptoms appeared to be improving as he climbed up to 19,000 feet yesterday. He climbed strong and we thought he was well until this morning.

I would like to take this opportunity to say a little about altitude illness. With travel to high altitude, there are three major forms of altitude sickness that can be encountered. Firstly, is Acute Mountain sickness which consists primarily of: headache, nausea, lassitude, fatigue, and insomnia. Secondly, is High Altitude Pulmonary Edema, which can be life threatening. High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) is when the lungs fill up with fluid as a result of the body adapting to high elevation. It occurs vary rarely below 8,000 feet. Thirdly, the most severe form of altitude is Cerebral Edema - swelling of the brain.

To avoid this, we have have slowly descended to Lobuche. As we can see with Doug, however, altitude sickness can strike even at lower altitudes - as he began to experience symptoms at approximately 15,000 feet. It is important to note that altitude sickness is not a respecter of age or physical fitness. Even if an individual has been to the same altitude previously and experienced no symptoms, altitude illness can manifest itself out of the blue on an individual's next expedition.

Doug has been in touch with his wife, Lisa Renee of Littleton, Colorado. Lisa Renee, her family, and the Tumminello's church family are praying fervently for Doug's speedy recovery. The team is praying for Doug as well, and I will remain with him to provide comfort, support, and medical attention. For now, he is looking better. We will continue to stay in Loboche for the next two days as we further assess his condition. Lord willing, if Doug continues to improve, he plans on heading back up to base camp. Until then, we will take it one day at a time.

With thoughts and prayers to Doug and his family,

Larry Rigsby MD 

Larry specializes in High Altitude Medicine and is a member of the Wilderness Medical Association

Everest 2006:  Team No Limits Dispatches

 

 






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