In the game of “Survivor,” the goal is to outwit, outplay and outlast the competition, but sometimes real-life troubles get in the way that lead to dramatic medical evacuations. As of this writing, a whopping 17 castaways have been removed due to health emergencies — 16 men and only one woman (Kourtney Moon). Tour our photos above (or click here for direct access) to see all of the “Survivor” medevacs/medical evacuations throughout the show’s run. Which ones were the scariest to watch on TV? Which ones do you remember vividly?
Michael Skupin (Season 2: The Australian Outback)
In episode 6, “Trial by Fire,” Skupin fell face-first into the campfire after taking in too much smoke. With skin hanging from his badly burnt hands, he was flown out of the Outback by helicopter as the show’s first ever medevac.
Bruce Kanegai (Season 12: Panama)
In episode 11, “Medical Emergency,” Bruce was taken out of the game after complaints of increased stomach pain in the two days following a reward to visit and feast at a Panamanian village. He was the second medevac and first to continue as a member of the jury.
Jonathan Penner (Season 16: Micronesia)
In episode 6, “It Hit Everyone Pretty Hard,” Jeff brought in medics to evaluate Penner’s knee which had been punctured during a Reward Challenge several days earlier. The wound was determined to be infected and an emotional Penner agreed to his removal from the game in order to not further damage and potentially lose his leg.
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James Clement (Season 16: Micronesia)
In episode 12, “I’m Gonna Fix Her James became the first second medevac in a single season. Despite wanting to stay in the game, James was removed on the risk of an infection in his finger spreading to the joint and requiring surgery. The removal was particularly hard for James after he shamefully went home the previous season with two hidden idols in his possession.
Joe Dowdle (Season 18: Tocantins)
In episode 8, “The Dragon Slayer,” Jeff Probst held Joe back after the Immunity Challenge so that medics could take a look at the infection on his leg. The diagnosis was serious and that the threat of it spreading to his bones or blood was imminent, potentially leading to amputation or endangering his life.
Mike Borassi (Season 19: Samoa)
In episode 2, “Taking Candy from a Baby,” the tribes competed in what is known as the Schmergen Brawl, a physical challenge played on one previous season before being retired from use due to the danger it poses the players, and Mike, severely winded following the challenge, was examined and removed due to extremely low blood pressure and an inability to stand up on his own.
Russell Swan (Season 19: Samoa)
In episode 6, “This Is the Man Test,” leader of his tribe, Russell, collapsed while attempting to work on a Reward Challenge puzzle. Russell suffered from dehydration which caused his blood pressure to plummet to a point lower than castmate Mike’s, who had been removed earlier in the game for a similar, albeit less dangerous, condition.
Kourtney Moon (Season 24: One World)
In episode 1, “Two Tribes, One Camp, No Rules,” Kourtney became not only the first female to be medically evacuated, but also the earliest to leave. In an awkward landing into a net during the first Immunity Challenge, Kourtney suffered a potential broken wrist and was pulled from the game so that X-rays could be done.
Colton Cumbie (Season 24: One World)
In episode 6, “Thanks for the Souvenir,” Colton was found curled in a ball before being diagnosed with possible appendicitis (it was later determined to be a bacterial infection). Before being removed from the game, producers gave Colton the option of keeping his hidden idol or giving it away to a player on his tribe — he infamously chose to keep it as a souvenir.
Shamar Thomas (Season 26: Caramoan)
In episode 4, “Kill or Be Killed,” Shamar was removed after a grain of sand got in his eye, causing an irritation that his tribe didn’t think was serious. When medics evaluated the condition it was determined that if left alone more damage could be done to his cornea which could potentially lead to loss of vision so he agreed to leave the game.
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Erik Reichenbach (Season 26: Caramoan)
In episode 14, “Last Push,” Erik became dizzy immediately following the previous episode’s Tribal Council. Despite receiving an IV to stabilize his condition, Erik was removed to prevent him entering a state of starvation. His evacuation has since been matched for latest in the game, but remains the only to occur during a season finale.
Caleb Reynolds (Season 32: Kaoh Rong)
In episode 4, “Signed, Sealed and Delivered,” Caleb was one of three castaways to be treated for heat stroke and exhaustion following a long Reward Challenge. Two of the castaways’ conditions were able to stabilize on their own, but Caleb’s temperature reached 110 degrees and his heart rate continued to drop.
Neal Gottlieb (Season 32: Kaoh Rong)
In episode 7, “It’s Merge Time,” recognizing that it was shaping up to be a brutal season, Jeff brought in medics to evaluate anyone suffering from any sort of injury. Though other castaways had manageable injuries, Neal’s knee infection was deemed too serious and at risk of joint infection to remain in the game. He became the second evacuee to leave with a hidden idol in their possession, though without controversy.
Joe Del Campo (Season 32: Kaoh Rong)
In episode 13, “With Me or Not with Me,” Joe became the second castaway to be evacuated in fifth place, matching a record set six seasons earlier. Following a feast at a Reward challenge, Joe experienced bladder problems that worsened after treatment from the medical team proved ineffective. His evacuation marked the first time three castaways were removed for medical reasons in a single season.
Pat Cusack (Season 37: David vs Goliath)
In episode 1, “Appearances Are Deceiving,” after the first immunity challenge Pat took a hard hit on the boat as it hit rough water on the way back to camp. As the tribe exited the boat it was immediately clear Pat was in trouble. After a visit from medical and showing no improvements, he was pulled from the game for a potential severe back injury. Pat has since made a full recovery.
Jackson Fox (Survivor 42)
In episode 1, “Feels Like a Rollercoaster,” this 48-year-old healthcare worker from Texas was paid a visit by none other than Jeff Probst. The host revealed that Jackson had not disclosed his lithium usage to production until the day before filming began, and that he was being removed from the game because the drug would wreak havoc with his body while out in the elements. Jackson, a transgender man, called his two days on the island “a gift.”
Bruce Perreault (Survivor 44)
In episode 1, “I Can’t Wait to See Jeff,” Bruce hit his head during the first reward challenge and started bleeding profusely. His injury seemed okay at first, but then he fainted and Jeff had to stop the challenge and bring in medical. Bruce was deemed good enough to go to camp with the others, but later on during the night he felt dizzy and the medics had to be called out again. This time, the doctor determined that he needed to pull Bruce from the game. Jeff later informed the players that Bruce was expected to make a full recovery.
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