Mark Bingham is the varsity Scout leader for Troop 792 in Brentwood and teaches Math and Science at Bristow Middle School. For the last few years, he has been battling a life-threatening blood clotting problem. Last month he found himself once again in the hospital with a blood clot in his intestines. Specialists, including those at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, reviewed Bingham's case and concluded that should he continue to suffer from "bleeders," blood transfusions would be the recommended remedy.
Last Monday Bingham and his family took a breather from the stress of his condition and spent some time in the outdoors. While swimming and tubing down the American River, a rope swing caught Bingham's attention and he tried it out. As he swung out, he slipped, fell, hit an embankment and slid into the river. The undertow caught him and carried him downstream, unconscious. Family members chased him for 10 to 15 minutes until a man with scuba gear who happened to be down river was able to help pull him out.
Bingham's brother, relying on his Scouting experience as a youth, was able to resuscitate him. A head trauma doctor, who also just happened to be kayaking nearby, was able to lend assistance until paramedics arrived. He was then taken to the Mercy San Juan Hospital in Carmichael, where doctors were astounded he was still alive.
Two days later Bingham woke up, disoriented but responsive. He was transferred to the Fremont Kaiser hospital and released on Sunday.
"He thought we were joking when we told him what happened," said his wife, Jennifer. "He thought he just had a blot clot that bled out. He does not recall anything about the accident."
At present, Bingham is tired, struggling with his equilibrium, but lucid. "I recognized street signs when we came into Brentwood, but I have no clue how to get anywhere," he said. His short-term memory has been affected, but doctors feel it is mostly from the trauma of the accident.
The family would like to thank the overwhelming response from friends, church and community members. "We have felt your prayers during this ordeal, and they have saved my husband's life," said Jennifer. "I am so grateful."
— Contributed by Scott Moravec