Student has leg amputated after fall while climbing
Family members of 21-year-old University of Otago student who fell 39ft while rock climbing in the US say counting bones is easier than she is is not broken in the accident.
Anna Parsons, formerly of Invercargill, was climbing Runout Slab at Snake Dike in Yosemite National Park when she slipped and rolled down a steep incline, hitting a ledge on the way down.
The university student, who broke almost every bone in her body, racked up a $1.2million hospital bill after having to have her foot amputated, NZ Herald reports.
Her sister, Jessica Ennor, said the fall left Anna with broken neck, spine, pelvis, ribs, wrist, feet and toes, and left her with internal injuries including a punctured lung.
Her left foot was so badly damaged it had to be amputated and last week she underwent major reconstructive surgery on her right foot, she said.
“The only things that weren’t broken were his arms, his femurs and his head, which is amazing,” Jessica said.
“It was a tough decision to take her foot off, but it’s the best way for her to get back to doing the things she loves.
“He is a very fun, family oriented, outgoing, hardworking and studious person, passionate about environmental issues.
“She loves surfing, rock climbing, mountain biking, tramping – it’s her lifestyle.”
Anna is a third-year marine ecology student who recently won a scholarship to spend time studying at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Center in British Columbia, Canada.
Jessica said her sister went to North America early so she could go rock climbing before she started school.
“She’s been climbing for a few years, but I wouldn’t say she had experience.
“Runout Slab was meant to be an easy climb,” Jessica said.
His parents flew in immediately after the accident to be at his bedside.
Anna said in a social media post that she was grateful for the quick and efficient rescue team that got her off the side of the mountain and straight to hospital by helicopter.
Because the hospital immediately began working on her back, she was not crippled by her spinal injuries.
“Doctors say she will be able to walk,” Jessica said.
“We weren’t sure for a few days but now she can move her knees and wiggle her toes.
“So once this reconstructive surgery is healed, she will have to learn to walk again with a prosthesis.”
She said her sister was “very overwhelmed with emotion” at how lucky she was to be “alive, saved and spared”.
“She also has a lot of ups and downs – sometimes the pain is too much.
“We know it’s going to be a long trip, but she’s been incredibly positive and she’s already talking about being an amazing marine scientist with one leg, hiking in the mountains, testing seaweed.”
Jessica said it was still too early to say when her sister might be coming home, adding, “I don’t think we should be rushing.”
Anna remains in a hospital near San Francisco where she racks up huge medical bills.
Her travel insurance covers only part of the cost of her surgery and hospital care.
“Money is something we don’t like to worry about, but Anna’s medical bills are over $1 million,” Jessica said.
So her family set up a Givealittle page to pay for prosthetics, treatment and rehabilitation.
Approximately $50,000 has been raised to date, but the goal is to reach $500,000.