Hornet stings hunter; friends save his life
This year a balded-face hornet interrupted the pleasure of filling three deer tags. Around 10 a.m. that Saturday, Duane and Charlie were taking care of their third 2X2 buck so it could be taken into town for processing.
The hornet left its mark on Duane’s left hand between his ring finger and middle finger. Within seconds of telling Charlie he was stung, Duane said he felt dizzy and dropped to his knees. Duane was going into anaphylactic shock but according to Karen, Charlie kept his cool and saved Duane’s life.
Three weeks earlier, Duane had been stung by a yellow jacket with no reaction. It is Karen and Charlie who have to carry Epi pens because of their allergic reaction from bees.
As Duane was turning pale and barely breathing, Charlie called to his wife to bring his Epi pen. As he stabbed Duane in the leg with the pen, bees were swarming around the two men. The bees were attracted to the blood of the deer.
Fearing he wasted some of the medicine, Charlie ordered Karen to get her Epi pen as Duane’s condition worsened. Karen said she and the Moores had no idea if the second pen was working.
“Charlie kept Rena and I calm, while putting himself in danger by staying with Duane and not leaving the area. The bees were thick and we had no more Epi pens,” said Karen, who added she kept the bees off of Duane’s face by blowing the bees away.
Karen uses oxygen 24 hours a day and to help her husband she took off her nasal cannula and held it over Duane’s nose until help arrived, which ended up being about 30 minutes after her call to 911.
“I couldn’t tell them where we were. I started to panic again,” Karen said. “But, Charlie came to the rescue again and with Rena’s help read the GPS coordinates so the emergency services could find us.”
She said all she could tell them was that they were on the top of the mountain off Long Valley Road between Canyon Dam and Greenville.
“Charlie kept us all together. He cradled Duane’s head so his airway would stay open; he kept me calm because I was feeling the effects of not having my oxygen; he worried about his wife, yelling at her to eat something so her blood sugar would not drop too low.”
South Lassen EMS Crew No. 1 paramedic Brian Gray told Karen it was the Epi pen injections, oxygen treatment and other first aid to prevent shock that saved Duane’s life.
Karen insists that Charlie and every member of the emergency services were heroes and should be recognized for their quick thinking and knowledge in saving her husband.
“The emergency personnel not only took care of my husband, but they took care of the all of us. They checked to see if we were OK and if we needed anything,” said Karen, who added she and Duane made lots of new friends that fateful day.
Karen said she has vivid memories of how the emergency 911 agencies worked together.
“The conditions were terrible. The bees and hornets were flying everywhere, but they all worked to remove the deer remains from the accident site. They also had to clear away downed branches so the emergency crews could get up the road and reach Duane,” Karen said.
The misadventure ended on a good note. By the time the EMTs arrived Duane was looking better, said Karen. His breathing was shallow and his color was pale, but he was talking some and wanting a drink of water.
Karen added that her husband confided he didn’t think he was going to make it and during those moments of self-doubt he was worried about Charlie getting stung and his wife not having oxygen.
“Charlie talked to Duane and helped him stay on his side until the Indian Valley Fire Department arrived to clear a path for the ambulance to reach Duane,” said Karen.
The ambulance carried Duane to an area where the Mountain Life Flight helicopter could safely land and take off. Karen said Charlie drove her to Enloe Hospital in Chico and by the time they got to the hospital, Duane was getting ready to be released.
Karen didn’t stop at generically thanking EMS personnel. After she and Duane were back home, she worked diligently to get the names of everyone involved in saving her husband’s life.
Paramedic Brian Gray and EMT Margaret Davis completed Duane’s vital signs, trauma score and treatment summary.
The Mountain Life Flight crew continued to keep track of Duane’s condition as he was flown to Enloe. The crew consisted of Drew Laine, Ralph Crnkovic and Chris Laguna.
At Enloe Hospital the Life Flight crew turned Duane over to Emergency Room Doctor Harchetan S. Sandhu.
According to Karen, Duane was given some steroids and a prescription for two Epi pens.
Because of everyone’s quick thinking and help, Karen said Duane went bear hunting for a few hours on Sunday, Oct. 28.
The difference is that he now carries Epi pens and an ambo bag that delivers oxygen and allows access to clearing a person’s airways, a blanket, a GPS and a cell phone.
Most of all, Karen said he goes hunting with his best friend, hunting partner, coworker and hero — Charlie Moore.
Karen said she also wants to make sure that California Highway Patrol dispatchers Pam Kjelmyr and Che Johnson are recognized for getting EMS to the right location. She also said she thanks Plumas County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Kathy Wasson and Sergeant Dean Canalia.
Others instrumental in helping Duane, Karen and the Moores include emergency responders Randy Jennings, Brigitt Foster, Leon Jeffery and Tommy Brencovich of the Plumas National US Forestry Service, Mt. Hough Ranger District.
“I may have forgot someone, but I tried hard to get all their names,” said Karen.
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