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Ski Accident Highlights Dangers

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Park City, UTThe recent death of Sarah Burke following a skiing accident during a freestyle skiing training run serves as a reminder that winter sports can be dangerous. Although Burke, like many other people, took all the necessary precautions, catastrophic ski injuries can occur, putting participants at risk. And, following a ski hill accident, overwhelming medical bills can pile up.

Burke died on January 19, approximately 10 days after her accident occurred. She remained in the hospital in a coma the entire time. Burke had been wearing a helmet when she was injured, but suffered a tear to a vertebral artery, which caused hemorrhaging in her brain. She went into cardiac arrest immediately following the accident. Despite surgeries to repair the tear, Burke died in the hospital. Her family, in addition to its grief, is left with approximately $200,000 in medical bills (update: donations have reportedly covered the cost of Burke's medical care).

Meanwhile, an 18-year-old student in Massachusetts has died after an accident that occurred during his first team practice. The student, Jack Street, was an experienced skier at the time of the accident. The Telegram (01/06/12) reports Street suffered a seizure while on the chairlift and fell 30 feet, landing facedown on the ground. An investigation by the Department of Public Safety was conducted after the accident, but no defects on the chair were found.

In a different ski hill accident, the widow of one man who died after his skiing accident alleges poor treatment by paramedics caused his death. According to Bangor Daily News, David Morse was conscious and alert when rescuers reached him on Sugarloaf Mountain after he crashed into a tree. His wife, Dana, says that ski rescue provided excellent care to David, getting him down the slope after his accident. But she says the paramedics treated his injured arm but not his internal bleeding, despite acknowledging he may have internal injuries. She also alleges that when she asked to hold his hand in the ambulance as he lay dying, she was kicked out of the ambulance and stranded on the side of the hill.

An investigation has reportedly been launched into the paramedics' handling of the incident.

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