Stranded Paraplegic Survives 3 Days in New Mexico Desert

He dragged himself four miles over three days before a motorist stopped to help him

 

 
 
 

SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press | | Wednesday, October 24, 2012


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A paraplegic man who says he was stranded in the New Mexico desert without his wheelchair dragged himself about four miles down a dirt road over three days before a motorist stopped to help him.

Tattered and dirty, Ricky Gilmore's blue jeans tell part of the story. His body tells the rest — the skin on his left leg and buttocks is shredded, his wrist is sprained and his kidneys are in bad shape from going without food and water.

"Ah man, I'm just a big mess. I ache and I'm just in the first stages of healing," he said Tuesday at the Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, N.M.

Gilmore, 49, is being treated for acute kidney failure from dehydration, a sprained wrist and a blood infection. He spent two days in intensive care and it could be at least another week before he can go home.

The Farmington Daily Times first reported Gilmore's story. He was found along a seldom-traveled road on the Navajo Nation about 10 miles from his home in Newcomb, which is on the eastern side of the reservation.

Gilmore said he was dropped in the desert by a couple in a white truck whom he met while he was hitchhiking. He had invited them to his home for steaks, and they later went for what Gilmore thought was going to be a joyride.

When he declined to share his alcohol with them, Gilmore said the man grabbed him by his feet and threw him out of the truck while parked along the desolate road.

It was early evening and Gilmore had nothing — no wheelchair, no food, no water, no coat — to help him endure the flat desert scrubland.

"It was dark and I was shivering and the wind was blowing so I just crawled to a bush and dug in right there. It was cold that night," he said.

With the sunrise, survival mode kicked in.

"I started dragging myself. I did the same thing all day and I only got about two miles," he said.

Two people passed by. Gilmore tried flagging them down but they only honked and kept going.

After spending a second night at the side of the road, Gilmore said he woke up sore and thirsty and didn't want to move.

"I could have easily gave up and said 'Forget it,' but I said 'I'm not going to freeze out here' and I just kept on going," said Gilmore, who lives by himself and lost the use of his legs in a car crash years ago.

On the third afternoon, a man in a blue pickup truck stopped and called for help. Gilmore said doctors told him his body temperature was 94 when he was found.

"I don't think I would have made it another night," he said.

The Daily Times reported that Gilmore filed a report with Shiprock police. No officials at the department after hours Tuesday could confirm details of the report.

Gilmore said he's bandaged up "big time" and morphine is helping with the pain. Still, he had a nightmare Monday night in which he found himself sitting at the edge of a freeway waving his hands at the passing traffic, but no one looked at him.

His plan is simple for when he gets released from the hospital: "Go home and pray, take inventory and just get a good night sleep in my own bed and heal."

___

Follow Susan Montoya Bryan on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/susanmbryanNM



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, paraplegic

 
What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Simulation-Based Assessment Facilitates Learning & Enhances Clinical Judgment

Simulation is an educational tool that can be used to develop and refine clinical skills of the student in a controlled environment before they progress to becoming practicing clinicians.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Patient Dies in West Virginia Ambulance Rollover

Marion County Rescue Squad crew is injured in collision.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Delaware Bus Crash MCI

A view from the triage sector as EMS crews work on several patients.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

REMSA Programs Helps Reduce Hospital Visits

Community paramedic effort goes into service.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

City Official Challenges San Francisco Fire Chief

Ambulance response times among problems noted by city supervisor.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Boulder Pins Colorado Hiker

Wilderness EMS team frees trapped hiker.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

North Dakota Oilfield Medics

Tactics used in offshore platforms tailored to the remote areas.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Delaware Bus Crash MCI

A view from the triage sector as EMS crews work on several patients.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >