On April 25th, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake completely destroyed the remote village of Laprak in Nepal. Every building was leveled however only 19 people of this tight-knit community were killed in the quake – a much better fate than neighboring communities. Laprak, located nine hours away from the closest road, was cut off from the world following the quake. No one was able to leave to seek help and no one could enter to provide much-needed medical services, medicines or basic supplies.
On May 4th, International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team was finally able to reach the residents of Laprak via helicopter, bringing doctors and nurses to provide lifesaving medical care and supplies to the devastated community.
Upon arrival, our staff heard of a critically injured man that needed special attention. He had suffered a stroke prior to the disaster and sustained a spinal injury during the earthquake. He desperately needed help. Not knowing what to do, his neighbors strapped him to a rock to keep him steady.
The word “bravery” cannot describe the courage and willingness of International Medical Corps’ First Responders to make unbelievable sacrifices for a community in desperate need. Our volunteer doctor, Mike Karch, and EMT, Tim Collins ran down the mountain from the helicopter’s landing place, the closest it could safely reach Laprak in the rugged terrain, for 35 minutes.
When they found the patient, Mike and Tim then traded off carrying him on their backs, fireman style, back up the mountain.
About half way up, they transferred the patient to a stretcher and wrapped him in a burlap blanket.
Carrying a man through the steep landscape at 10,000 feet above sea level was a feat of pure will power and endurance for our First Responders, they would have to rest after every 50 steps.
Finally, they made it back up the mountain and safely transferred the patient to the helicopter to be transported to a local hospital for advanced medical care.