Kelowna man who lost finger warns others to be prepared when exploring the backcountry | Kelowna News | iNFOnews

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Kelowna man who lost finger warns others to be prepared when exploring the backcountry

Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Kai Heinrich
September 26, 2020 - 11:00 AM

After losing a finger while on the backroads near Merritt, a Kelowna man is warning others to be prepared while on outdoor adventures.

Kai Heinrich, an avid outdoor adventurer, lost his pinky Sept. 19, while trying to adjust a trailer when searching for Cabin Lake near Merritt. He was able to stem the bleeding and drive to a waiting ambulance, but spent a week in the Kelowna General Hospital after surgery that failed to reattach his digit.

Equipped with a satellite phone, a cell-phone booster and a first aid kit, Heinrich was able to mitigate more injury by applying his first aid training and was able to communicate his situation with emergency responders. He was able to bandage his hand and drive with his family to the ambulance.

Having proper tools to change a flat tire, a first aid kit and contacts who know where you are is key when exploring the outdoors, he said. He believes his experience was a normal scenario that could happen to a lot of people.

He created a Facebook post about it, sharing his experience in order to promote safety while in the backcountry. 

“With COVID-19 I see a lot of people out there… if I can help one person do that checklist before they head out and mitigate the situation,” Heinrich said.

He misses his finger, but remains optimistic about the situation.

“I’m super OCD and I want (the fingers on each hand) to match... I realize being upset about it is not going to bring the finger back.”

He doesn’t dwell on the past, and hopes by sharing his story others will be better prepared when they entered the woods.

“I feel like those who persevere do the best with healing,” he said. 


To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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