Anonymous ER doc helped treat injured hiker on Katahdin

Posted July 02, 2013, at 8:03 p.m.
Last modified July 02, 2013, at 8:43 p.m.

BAXTER STATE PARK, Maine — A top park official thanked the unidentified emergency-room doctor who helped save a Texas hiker recovering at a Bangor hospital Tuesday from injuries he suffered on Mount Katahdin.

The doctor was among the first people to find and treat Ned Hamara, 62, after a rock he had grabbed to climb a steep section of Hunt Trail came loose and fell on him on Monday, park director Jensen Bissell said.

Bissell said he would not mind knowing the man’s name.

“I don’t know who the ER doctor was,” Bissell said of the doctor. “I don’t believe he ever left his name.”

Hamara was recovering from surgery Tuesday night at Eastern Maine Medical Center, Bissell said. He suffered leg and upper torso injuries when the rock came down on him.

A hospital spokesperson said Hamara was in fair condition Tuesday night.

The doctor was among several people who helped Hamara, Bissell said, probably examining him and helping determine the severity of the injuries. One volunteer helper called 911 on a cellphone. They helped park rescue workers find Hamara.

The chilly and wet weather, Hamara’s age, the severity of his injuries and the arduousness of the climb down the mountain were among the factors that made Campground Ranger Yves Beribou decide that a Maine Forest Service helicopter that happened to be available would be the best way to transport Hamara off the mountain, Bissell said.

Hamara’s injury occurred on a trail in heavy rocks above the treeline. Rescuers would have been forced to have him camp in a tent rather than risk an overnight rescue had Beribou opted for a carry-out rescue, Bissell said.

“If they hadn’t, they’d be taking him out right about now,” Bissell said at about 5 p.m. Tuesday.

“If he hadn’t [decided to seek helicopter assistance], they’d be taking him out right about now,” Bissell said at about 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Bissell reminded park hikers to not rely upon constant cellphone service in the park. Hikers such as Hamara should also hike with other hikers and not go solo, he said.