On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, Phil went up to Ely, MN to help lead a work crew for a trail clearing project. The crew stayed that evening outside of Ely, planning to begin their work the following morning. Shortly after waking up Thursday morning, Phil was found unconscious and unresponsive on a path outside of the cabin the crew was staying in. He was brought to the hospital in Ely by ambulance. Hospital staff were unsure of the cause of his condition and began various testing, which resulted in his transfer to St. Mary's Hospital in Duluth, MN. Diagnosing the cause of his condition has been really difficult since the time he was found. Initially it was thought he may have simply had a seizure, however, it is now clear the cause of the potential seizure is much more serious than previously thought. Hospital staff in Duluth have been working diligently to figure out what is wrong, but have been treating him for a wide variety of illnesses to ensure he is receiving the best care until a condition is pinpointed. As of Saturday, staff were able to rule out meningitis and viral encephalitis, which we are thankful for!
The cause of his condition remains uncertain, however, hospital staff now believe it to be Powassan Virus, a very rare but serious illness resulting from a tick bite, and are treating him for that condition as testing is not available over the weekend. We will keep the page updated with his progress!