SANDPOINT — Bonner County EMS is raising its glass to salute the residents of Lake Pend Oreille’s Whiskey Rock Bay.
Paramedics received an advanced life-support call following a traumatic injury at the remote waterfront outpost at 7 a.m. on New Year’s Day. The only way to access the residence was via boat.
Advanced EMT LeDon Sacksteder and Paramedic Chip Albright rendezvoused with sheriff’s marine patrol vessel at Garfield Bay so they could be taken across the lake to Whiskey Rock.
“When they arrived at Whiskey Rock, the size of the task soon became apparent. The only usable dock had a steep and narrow access and the patient’s house was on a steep hillside blanketed in deep snow that had not yet been cleared,” Bonner EMS spokesman Bob Abbott said in a news release.
While the EMS crew was assessing the patient and preparing for the person to be transported, a large group of neighbors took it upon themselves to shovel and blow snow, which created a path back to the dock.
“These fine folks also provided significant help to the crew in evacuating the patient from the residence down the steep, icy hill and over the narrow dock onto Marine 6,” Abbott said.
The patient was transferred to a crew from Timberlake Fire which transported the patient to the hospital. The total time of the call for the BCEMS crew approached four and a half hours.
“Getting to just about any patient has been hard enough after the recent storms,” said Bonner County EMS Chief Bob Bussey. “But gaining access to a residence like this, in such a remote location, is something else entirely.”
“It’s not an understatement to say that were it not for the spontaneous and heroic assistance of everyone in Whiskey Rock neighborhood, the successful treatment and evacuation of this patient would have been orders of magnitude more difficult, if not impossible,” Bussey continued. “We would like to send out a huge thank you to everyone who stepped up to help a neighbor and to the BCSO Marine Division for providing expert and safe transport across the lake in difficult conditions.”
Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.