Roger McMorrow with the Friends flag on the summit of Everest.
IT HAS emerged the Lisburn doctor who last week successfully
reached the summit of Everest had been involved in a life or
death drama before he reached to top of the world's highest
Dr. Roger McMorrow, an anaesthetist at Dublin's Mater Hospital,
and his colleagues taking part in the Caudwell Xtreme Everest
project came across a 22 year old Nepalese woman slumped on a
section of the mountain known as the 'death zone'.
Usha Bista was suffering from oxygen deprivation - a key subject
being studied by the medics during their visit to the Himalayas
- and required immediate treatment.
Thanks to Dr. McMorrow and his colleagues she recovered,
suffering only from minor frostbite.
Dr. McMorrow's wife Sara explained the party had decided before
leaving Ireland they would not pass anyone who needed help.
They stuck rigidly to this pledge and immediately administered
first aid to Usha on the mountain side before moving her back to
base camp level.
"They made an incredible effort to get her down and they did it
very successfully," added Sara.
"She must have been one of the luckiest people alive to have
gone into a coma on Everest just as a party of anaesthetists was
The emergency occurred at 8,000 metres and delayed Dr.
McMorrow's climb to the summit by one day. Team leader Dr. Mike
Grocott said Usha had an inadequate amount of oxygen to the top
of Everest and back again. "She then developed a condition
called high altitude cerebral edema due to low oxygen levels" he
"This wasn't what we intended to get involved in but it was a
situation where we were compelled to help when it arose."
Dr. McMorrow went on to reach the summit of the mountain as he
and his colleagues explored how humans adapt to low oxygen
levels in a bid to benefit patients in intensive care units.
He was proud to unfurl the flag of Friends School where he was
educated when he reached the top. Earlier this week he was back
at Base Camp where further medical experiments were carried out.