My Turn

Opinion: A noteworthy medical response

By Michael O'Connell and Theresa Taggart
Posted 3/15/20

We want to give a big shoutout and heartfelt thank you to the Taos Ski Valley Ski Patrol and Mogul Medical Urgent Care Clinic.

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My Turn

Opinion: A noteworthy medical response


We want to give a big shoutout and heartfelt thank you to the Taos Ski Valley Ski Patrol and Mogul Medical Urgent Care Clinic.

Last week, our nephew from Washington State, Michael "Buck" Cobb, and his friend, Hayden Wright, arrived for a visit here in Taos with us, in preparation for Hayden competing in the Telemark Freestyle Competition. They had driven from Seattle and were looking forward to a visit with us in Taos and a week of skiing at Taos Ski Valley.

Buck is a longtime, expert skier in both downhill and telemark and was looking forward to coaching and skiing Taos Ski Valley with Hayden. On Feb. 25, they were up bright and early and ready to start exploring the mountain. Unfortunately and unexpectedly while skiing that morning, about 11 a.m., Buck experienced a heart arrest episode while in line for the Kachina Peak lift. He collapsed and was in a critical state of medical emergency.

Hayden started to help him, and luckily Dr. Linda Lynch, ER physician, and her daughter happened to be skiing that morning and were there at the same lift line when it happened. They responded immediately to assess and begin CPR on our nephew, followed shortly after by very quick response from TSV Ski Patrol, who continued with CPR combined with administering an AED defibrillator to restore his heartbeat.

Our nephew responded, resumed breathing and was stabilized enough for the ski patrol team to transfer him down the mountain and bring him by local van to the Mogul Medical Clinic at the base. It was here, with the help of ski patrol, electromagnetic pulse and your Mogul Medical Clinic professional medical team that he was prepared to be transferred by ambulance down the mountain for the next part of the journey.

The local Taos ambulance arrived quickly and he was taken directly to Taos airport to be medically air-evacuated to Christus St. Vincent's Hospital in Santa Fe, where our family caught up with him.

The intensive care unit medical team at St. Vincent's hospital determined that the heart failure was not caused by a blocked artery, as is often the case, but by an electrical malfunction in his heart. The diagnosis: ventricular tachycardia.

Buck is stable and improving every day, thanks to the amazing, professional emergency medical response from all of the teams at Taos Ski Valley and Mogul Medical Clinic. Without the quick and effective efforts by Dr. Lynch, ski patroller Bob Heflin and the entire team of Taos Ski Patrol and the Mogul Medical Clinic, Buck would not have made it.

For their intervention and good work, Buck, his family and friends are truly thankful. We are so grateful for all you did.

Michael O'Connell and Theresa Taggart are Taos County residents, skiers and happy to call the Taos community their home.


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