Frozen lakes and rivers are beautiful. But walking across can lead to very long heart stoppages.
In November of 2019, Audrey Mash’s heart stopped for more than 6 hours. Ms. Mash had been hiking in the Spanish Pyrenees with her husband when a sudden snowstorm hit. She lost consciousness, had no pulse, and her temperature slipped to 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Her body was taken to the hospital where a specialized device was used to heat and oxygenate her blood outside of her body. She revived, and returned to normal.
The usual lifesaving procedure for hypothermia is for the non-frozen person to remove his/her clothes, and press up against the freezing person, preferably inside a sleeping bag or other insulated enclosure. Mash’s husband did not take this step, and, presumably, has never heard the end of it.
A second contender for this record was a 41-year-old Norwegian whose heart stopped for 6 hours and 52 minutes. The intoxicated man (whose name was not released) left a party and fell into a frigid river in late December. No one noticed. Eventually, a passersby saw him struggling and pulled him from the water. Then the good samaritan tried to address the man’s hypothermia by stripping and engaging in skin-to-skin contact. Upon their arrival, EMTs took the man’s rectal temperature. There is no documentation as to whether the intoxicated man thought these measures were a continuation of the party.
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