Paramedic honored for innovative thinking while rescuing hiker

Paramedic Nick Runions strapped hiker Mary Anderson to his back and climbed up a crest of a summit to bring her to safety

By EMS1 Staff

COUPEVILLE, Wash. — A paramedic was honored for his innovative thinking while saving a hiker who was injured on a narrow trail.

Whidbey News-Times reported that Whidbey Health Medical Center paramedic Nick Runions and his partner, EMT Tom Cross, found hiker Mary Anderson on Goose Rock Summit Trail with a broken ankle and torn ligament on a path that was not wide enough to accommodate two people side-by-side.

“The trail is steep, with varied footing requirements and numerous switchbacks,” Deception Pass State Park area manager Jason Armstrong said. “It was apparent the patient had sustained a notable ankle injury and would not be able to extricate herself.”

Runions was able to fix Anderson onto his back with a makeshift strap and climbed up the crest of the summit to bring her safely to the bottom of the trail.

“Mr. Runions exhibited a great deal of compassion and concern for the patient’s well-being. However impressive his compassion and people skills are, they would be overshadowed by his physical condition,” Armstrong said. “Mr. Runions was able to carry the patient to safety by himself. This required a tremendous amount of strength and stamina, as he carried her nearly the entire trip from southeast of the summit to the parking lot at Deception Pass Bridge. The estimated distance is approximately 1.5 miles.”

Runions was presented with a letter of commendation from Armstrong, and Anderson said she is very grateful.

“I have to express my profound gratitude to Nick and all of the other paramedics and park rangers that came to my aid,” she said. “I’m looking at an 8-12 week recovery period for a broken ankle and torn ligament.”

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