Top 10 Incredible REAL LIFE MacGyver Moments That Saved Lives
02
February

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /


10 Incredible Real Life MacGyver Moments That
Saved Lives 10. Creating a Makeshift Radiator James Glanton and Christina McIntee faced
a nightmare scenario when, while driving through the rural back roads of northern Nevada on
a wintry December day in 2013 on the way to play in the snow up in the mountains, their
Jeep swerved off an embankment and overturned. The couple was traveling with their two children,
ages three and four, and a niece and nephew, ages 10 and three. As temperatures in the
area plunged to 21 degrees below zero, the family’s prospects appeared bleak. The couple
had winter coats for the family, but no cell service and no prospect of being able to reach
help on foot. What Glanton and McIntee did have, however,
was ingenuity. Glanton used the Jeep’s spare tire as a container for a fire he built using
brush and wood found near the Jeep. The couple heated rocks in the fire and ferried them
to the overturned vehicle, using the residual heat to keep the family warm as they waited
for rescue (they knew relatives would have reported them missing and could hear helicopters
overhead so they believed a search was underway). When the family was found after two days in
the wilderness, none of them had suffered from frostbite or sustained any permanent
injury from the day trip gone awry. 9. Signaling for Help While Pinned after a
Car Accident When Kristin Hopkins’ Chevy Mailbu skidded
off US Highway 285 in Colorado and down a steep, wooded mo1untain pass, it was only
the beginning of her five day fight for survival. Pinned in her overturned car, which was wedged
between trees, Hopkins lacked food, water, and the ability to reach a phone to call for
help. Somehow, even in these desperate straits, Hopkins maintained a hopeful outlook. When
interviewed about her ordeal, Hopkins, a single mother of four, said she concentrated on thoughts
of her children. “I never had the death thought in my head,” she said. “It was
more or less like all right, well, when will someone find me?” Hopkins used the only items she could reach,
a striped umbrella and a Sharpie marker, to signal for help. She detailed her situation
on the white sections of the umbrella and poked it through one of the car’s broken
windows, hoping to attract attention. A passing motorist spotted the vehicle and called authorities,
who were surprised to find Hopkins severely dehydrated and injured (her feet ultimately
had to be amputated), but alive, having used the only tools at her disposal to try to expedite
her rescue. 8. Using an MP3 Player to Navigate and a Snowboard
to Survive Former hockey Olympian Eric LeMarque didn’t
initially realize his predicament when he snowboarded off-course, accidentally leaving
the relative safety of the back side of California’s Mammoth Mountain for the backcountry of the
Sierra Nevada. LeMarque had only meager provisions—some gum, an MP3 player, his condo keys, and a
cellphone with a dead battery—and he hadn’t told anyone where he was going. However, with some ingenuity, LeMarque managed
to survive a week in the frigid wilderness before rescuers located him. He used his snowboard
to remove tree bark, which he ate and used for shelter. He used his MP3 player as a makeshift
compass, using the strength of the signal from a local radio station to orient himself
and to trek back up the mountain to increase his odds of being found. While LeMarque lost
both feet to frostbite, his improvised survival strategies kept him alive in the wilderness
five days longer than anyone had previously survived in the conditions he faced. 7. Saving a Life with Soda Sugary drinks have taken the blame for shortening
lives by contributing to obesity. However, for one car crash victim, a bottle of Coca-Cola
in the hands of an astute rescuer proved to be a lifesaver. After hitting black ice on
New Hampshire’s Route 140, Susan Robbins’ Camry hit a tree stump, overturned and smashed
into a truck, leaving her unconscious in her badly damaged car. Mark Hickey, a NH National Guard training
officer happened by the wreck shortly after it occurred. Another motorist had already
stopped and was on the phone with 911 dispatchers, so Hickey looked around to see how else he
could help. It was then that he noticed a fire in the car’s engine compartment. Hickey
initially tried to staunch the flames with hunting clothes he had in his truck, but when
he couldn’t reach the fire, he created a novel fire extinguisher from another item
in his vehicle—a 2-liter bottle of Coke. Hickey shook the bottle and used its contents
to put out the flames. He held Robbins’ hand until rescuers arrived. When Robbins’
husband passed the crash scene on the way to the hospital, where his wife was being
treated for her (relatively minor) injuries, he was surprised to notice a Coke bottle in
her car, as Susan drinks only Pepsi. However, when the story of Hickey’s heroic actions
came to light, a grateful Susan Robbins offered to buy her rescuer a Coke. Amazingly, this is not the first time Coke-as-fire-extinguisher
has saved a life; a British teenager also saved his father after his body went up in
flames after a garden fire. 6. Reviving a Sick Passenger with a Hair Tie
and Booze Many passengers have urgently demanded a drink
on a cross-country flight. However, when Dr. Patricia Quinlan asked for whiskey on her
November, 2015 flight from Philadelphia to San Francisco, she had an exceptionally good
reason. After noticing a man across the aisle fall out of his seat, Dr. Quinlan assessed
him, determining his blood pressure was dangerously low and his heartbeat was irregular. Using
the plane’s automated defibrillator to determine the sick passenger did not have a heart blockage,
Dr. Quinlan then sought to stabilize the man, with help from an EMT and a nurse amongst
her fellow passengers. ADVERTISEMENT
As the three medical professionals maneuvered in the narrow aisle, other passengers used
smartphones to provide light as the team treated the unconscious man, who was likely suffering
from dehydration. While a medical kit was onboard, no alcohol could be found to disinfect
the IV needle, so Dr. Quinlan requested a flight attendant grab some whiskey from the
bar cart to do so. Further improvising, Dr. Quinlan used her hair elastic as a tourniquet
for the IV and, when the IV sprung a leak, patched it with tape another passenger had
in her purse. By the time the plane landed, the sick man was conscious and able to walk
off the flight. Dr. Quinlan emerged from the flight with a new nickname from the appreciative
crew: “Doctor Angel.” 5. Chopping Down Power Poles as an Emergency
Beacon In late May of 2010, temperatures in the Wollaston
Lake region were unusually cold, even for northern Saskatchewan. In these icy conditions,
an unidentified outdoorsman became stranded after going out in a boat on a river and being
unable to find an ice-free path out of Wollaston Lake, which the river feeds. Stuck in the
bush, surrounded by bears on one side and an icy lake on the other, with no way to communicate
his predicament or ask for help, the stricken woodsman waited for rescue. After almost a
week alone in the wilderness, he used the only tool at his disposal, an axe, to try
to send a signal. The desperate man chopped down four power
poles, knocking out power to more than 1,000 residents of surrounding communities, and
forcing SaskPower, the regional utility, to send a crew to investigate the cause of the
outage. When the SaskPower crew arrived, they discovered the stranded man huddled under
his boat for shelter, “in a very distressed state.” Though town residents were displeased
to spend more than 30 hours without power in temperatures that dipped below freezing,
they could take some consolation in knowing that the power pole-chopping that caused the
outage also saved a life. 4. Performing an Emergency Tracheotomy with
a Pocketknife and a Pen If you had to choose a time and a place to
face a health emergency, you couldn’t do much better than the Bakersfield, California
restaurant where community college trustee Pauline Larwood started choking in September
of 2013. Larwood was attending a symposium on Valley fever and the nearby restaurant
was packed with top doctors from around the country. When Larwood started choking and
the Heimlich maneuver did not help, several of the doctors present jumped into action
to improvise to perform an emergency tracheotomy to save Larwood’s life. Dr. Royce Johnson, a UCLA medical professor
and chief of infectious diseases at Kern Medical Center, used a friend’s pocketknife to make
an incision. Dr. Thomas Friedan, Director of the CDC, monitored Larwood’s pulse. When
someone called for a pen, Dr. Paul Krogstad, a UCLA medical professor, broke it in half,
placing the hollow tube in the incision Dr. Johnson had made. Larwood was rushed to the
hospital, and released the next day, expected to make a complete recovery thanks to the
ingenuity and quick reflexes of her fellow diners. 3. Creating a Spacecraft Air Filter Adaptor
Using a Sock and Duct Tape “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” These
immortal (and often-misquoted) words entered the national consciousness during the Apollo
13 lunar mission in April of 1970. The spacecraft became crippled, with two out of three fuel
cells inoperable, after an oxygen tank burst. The three-man astronaut crew hurriedly moved
into the smaller lunar module to reduce their electrical usage to preserve enough power
to get back to Earth. However, the team quickly faced a new threat: the buildup of exhaled
carbon dioxide in the lunar module would kill the astronauts if they and the NASA team on
the ground couldn’t devise a way to filter it out. The spacecraft was equipped with some backup
canisters of lithium hydroxide to remove carbon dioxide, but the square canisters didn’t
fit the lunar module’s round openings. NASA engineers, led by Ed Smylie, worked diligently
to find a solution. The jerry-rigged adaptor they created, which was reproduced by the
astronauts using the material onboard their spacecraft, included plastic from a garment
bag, cardboard from an instruction manual, a tube sock, and duct tape. This makeshift
air scrubber enabled the astronauts to keep breathing until their safe splashdown on Earth
days later. 2. Using a Paddle and Ladder to Stay Fed and
Hydrated After a Shipwreck In 1971, Dougal and Lyn Robertson, along with
their three children, set forth on the voyage of a lifetime. Lyn and Dougal, a retired mariner,
had sold their farm, ploughed the proceeds into a 43-foot schooner, and planned to sail
around the world to show their children the “university of life.” However, 17 months
into their journey, the family, plus a student hitchhiker, got more life experience than
they could have bargained for. The boat was boat was struck by a pod of whales and quickly
sunk, leaving its six passengers on an inflatable raft and, after that deflated, a small dinghy. The group had limited food and water and had
to be resourceful to survive. They made a spear out of a paddle and used it to kill
turtles and a shark, which they used for food and hydration, supplemented by rainwater they
caught in containers. Because the rainwater that collected in the boat was polluted by
turtle blood, Lyn, who had been a nurse, administered enemas using tubes from the rung of a ladder,
to keep the group hydrated. These improvised solutions kept the family alive during the
38 days they were adrift before a passing fishing vessel spotted their flare and rescued
them. 1. Jerry-Rigging a Pediatric Nebulizer at
30,000 Feet In September of 2015, the parents of an asthmatic
2-year old made a mistake that could have cost their son his life, accidentally placing
his medication in checked luggage for a transatlantic flight from Spain to the US. Luckily for the
parents and the toddler, who had an asthma attack during the flight, Dr. Khurshid Guru,
director of robotic surgery at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, was on board. After
determining that the child’s oxygen levels were at dangerously diminished levels, Dr.
Guru took action. The onboard medical kit had only an adult
inhaler, which the child was too young to be able to use effectively, but Dr. Guru was
undeterred. Using the inhaler, a water bottle, a plastic cup, some tape, and an oxygen mask,
he fashioned a makeshift nebulizer to deliver the medication to the child without requiring
the young patient to do anything other than breathe through the device. The child’s
oxygen levels improved, and by landing, the toddler was playing with his grateful parents.


38 thoughts on “Top 10 Incredible REAL LIFE MacGyver Moments That Saved Lives

  1. Back in my 20s driving down I-80 towards Sacramento, the gasket and diaphram blew out on the fuel pump. I pulled over to the side behind someone else who had just broken down. I always carry one of those all-in-one pocket knives but that was the extent of the tools in the car. There was a bicycle inner tube in the car so I removed and dismantled the fuel pump with the pliers on the multi-tool and used a piece of the tube to make a new diaphram and gasket. The minute I pulled away into traffic, a truck lost control and smashed into the other disabled driver's car. I guess my MacGyver move saved my life by seconds.

  2. #4; in a episode of the 70's TV show M*A*S*H, they used methods to help a person breath. While a fictional event, I would not be surprised if that doctor had watched M*A*S*H at some point.

  3. I've binge watched a bunch of these videos since stumbling on the channel a few days ago and the amount of grammatical errors with words read by Simon or written graphics in the videos are astounding. The videos are great but you need to read more or take some English class lessons

  4. My friend peed in my shoe once and threw it in the camp fire. Wait …whyd he do that?! It didn't really help me. Bastard!!!!!

  5. Get an ACR PLB. Renders all this "days in the wild" stuff unneccesary. Shame people are outdated and only think their advanced because they fad follow what the advertisements tell them yet are incapable of taking advantage of any technology.

  6. I put out an engine fire caused by a failing clutch with a bottle of milk. I only noticed the fire by it's odd reflection in my side mirror and window. It was at night. The only liquid i the 4×4 was milk I had just bought. Saved the car and possibly both my young son and myself.

  7. Actually, the best place to have a medical emergencies is the E.R. My father's childhood friend went into the for eye issues and had a stoke while he was waiting in the E.R.

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