As audience members we can often forget how dangerous Survivor really is until we witness a medical evacuation which brings home the seriousness of the show. In a timely top 10 given the drama of the latest episode of Kaoh Rong, American Ozlet Alec Culver takes a look at the most intense game changing medical evacuations in Survivor's history. Read on to see the complete list.
Survivor becomes real when medical emergencies come into play. The most recent episode of Survivor Kaoh Rong brought us one of the most medical emergency filled episodes ever as 3 players went down until one ended up getting medically evacuated. In total, so far 15 people have been medically evacuated, or some form of it such as Dana in Survivor: Philippines. These medical evacuations are rated based on emotion and impact they had on the game as well as how memorable they are.
10. James Clement – Survivor: Micronesia
The man that got voted out with two idols in his pockets, and luckily he got a second chance. The downside was that he would once again hurt himself in the game. This time he literally hurt himself in the game and his wound eventually became infected which led to him having to be medically evacuated. The departure wasn’t emotional as some have been but being that it happened with only 7 people left in the game makes it have a huge impact on the game. This made it so that when Erik won immunity that night they had to vote for one of the girls because he was gone. Also he came to tribal council with an IV the first time which already makes it pretty memorable.
9. Joe Dowdle – Survivor: Tocantins
This one is an interesting one. It was one that really isn’t the most memorable but it did have a small but impactful impact on the game. Going into the merge there were 6 Timbira and 4 Jalepao and it seemed like for the first tribal that the Timbira would stick together and vote JT or Joe out, however with Joe getting medically evacuated because of a knee infection, it made it so JT and Stephen could integrate themselves in some alliances and make it to the end of the game. Joe was also someone that was getting a good enough edit that you could think that he could somehow work his way to a win as well. This evacuation will always be remembered by me just for the close up of his knee with the flies all around it.
8. Bruce Kanegai – Survivor: Panama
What is not to be remembered by this medical evacuation? Arguably one of the most painful on this list. He had severe intestinal blockage and was just in pain for days strait. He was the original evacuation to be able to be on the jury. Also he was the second medical evacuation ever. I mean we went 10 more seasons without one. The whole episode was basically based around this medical emergency because it was that big. It might not have had a huge impact on the game but it was very emotional and memorable, if not just for the evacuation but also for the fact that Shane carried the stretcher while he was naked.
7. Colton Cumblie – Survivor: One World
This one is a little controversial because later reports might suggest that it was more of a quit then a medical emergency. However, when it aired, it aired as a medical emergency so that is what it is getting judged by. I mean the last person you expected to have a medical emergency in this season was Colton. He was running the show and was getting half of the edit time. I mean yes he was a bully, yes he was hated but he was playing a pretty good game. On top of that he had an idol, that Sabrina gave him but he had it. Then he took that idol away with him when he got Appendicitis or a Bacterial infection or whatever it is. He was the leader of the guy’s alliance of Leif, Troyzan, Tarzan and Jonas and they could have easily brought the other guys, Jay and Mike, on board to out duel the girls. However, once Colton was gone then they guys chance of winning the game went up in flames and it was all because of a medical evacuation.
6. Terry Deitz – Survivor: Cambodia
Another interesting one on this list. This was technically not a medical evacuation but it was at the same time. He had to leave the game to go be with his son who was having a medical emergency hence it was a medical evacuation. I mean this guy waited about 20 seasons to finally get a second shot and it was all blown up when he had to leave the game. The emotion and the fact that it happened in the middle of the night and the emotional confessional by Kass, yes she has those sometimes, this was a very memorable emergency situation and it did have a little impact on the game.
5. Erik Reichenbach – Survivor: Caramoan
How would you feel if you made it 36 days in this game, you are in the final 5, have a great shot at making the finals and even winning the game and then you get taken out of the game for malnutrition and dehydration. That is what happened with Erik. He was so close, he could have won the game. He was making subtle but big moves and winning challenges when he needed to but it seems that 5th place will always be his destiny. It had such an impact on the game because it let Cochran cruise to victory after that, if Erik was still in the game he could have been the main challenge for Cochran and maybe even taken him out. It took away basically the only other believable winner left in the game and it was a memorable but saddening medical evacuation.
4. Jonathan Penner – Survivor: Micronesia
One of my favorite players of the game. He was a polar character his first time around but the one thing that Penner always had going for him was his social game. In his second chance in Micronesia in a very difficult challenge that a lot of people had bumps and bruises, Penner got a stick that pierced his knee. This ended up getting infected and eventually had to leave the game. His tribe was on a roll and he even was the MVP of a challenge that his tribe won basically because of him. His whole tribe was there watching him get evacuated, minus Jason, and it led to one of the most emotional departures we have seen in Survivor in a long time.
3. Caleb Reynolds – Survivor: Kaoh Rong
You might think this is recently bias but man this was an emotional medical evacuation. The whole situation was just a sight to see. If you have friends that don’t think Survivor is real then have them watch this episode because it will prove them wrong. I mean we had Debbie, Cydney and Caleb go down with different degrees of heat stroke and the one person that you would think would be the least likely to medically evacuated of the three is the one that actually did. It was emotional because he just helped his team to win and then just collapsed. He wasn’t breathing or reacting sometimes which made it super scary and then having to bring in a helicopter made it even more memorable because they don’t do that very often. Then the moment that really made this super emotional is seeing Anna, Tai and Julia talking and then breaking down when they find out that Caleb was the one being evacuated. This will easily go down as one of the biggest evacuations ever and by far one of the most emotional.
2. Russell Swan – Survivor: Samoa
It is clear that this one was going to be this high. It was super memorable maybe just for the fact that even Jeff said that it was the scariest experience he has had on the show ever, or at least up to that point. This guy is built like an ox, super strong and doesn’t seem to have much fat in his body, just all muscle. However, he wasn’t immune to the rough nature that is Survivor, kind of like Caleb was. He passed out in the middle of a challenge, which ended up making it the first challenge ever to not have a winner and he literally almost lost his life. He even says when watching it with his wife that his wife even thought that he died. It was a real moment and easily thought of quickly as one of the most memorable and emotional medical evacuations in the history of the show.
1. Michael Skupin – Survivor: The Australian Outback
There was no doubt what number one would be. The first one has to be the most iconic. This man was perfectly healthy but while tending to the fire, passed out and fell into the fire. You could see all the burnt skin coming off of him and it took him years to recover from it. Not only that but this emergency affected the game immensely. It evened the numbers for the merge and created one of the greatest what if questions ever in the history of Survivor. What if this never happened? Would Colby have been the big hero of the season or would he have just been an afterthought? I mean the list goes on and on. I’m so glad Skupin came back for another shot at the game to prove how good he really can be at the game because he was basically the leader of his tribe. It was an emotional evacuation, it was an impactful one and it is easily the most memorable evacuation in the history of Survivor.
Honorable Mentions: Gary Stitesky – Survivor: Fiji, Mike Borassi – Survivor: Samoa, Kourtney Moon – Survivor: One World, Dana Lambert – Survivor: Philippines, Shamar Thomas – Survivor: Caramoan
What do you think of the top 10? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it in the wrong order or are there ones that didn’t make the top 10 that you feel should’ve? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!
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