Woman who was frozen like a 'piece of meat' survived and became a rare medical mystery
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A woman miraculously survived being frozen stiff for six hours after her car got stuck in a ditch one night and she walked through -30C conditions to try and find help.
In December 1980, the then 19-year-old Minnesota woman, Jean Hilliard, ended up stranded and forced to walk through the night in search of help, managing to make it about three kilometres in freezing conditions before she slipped and fell.
Jean lost consciousness in the fall, and for the next six hours she was frozen by the below zero winter temperatures.
She was discovered the next morning by a friend who found her lying in his garden and at first he thought Jean was dead.
The 19-year-old woman was frozen 'as stiff as a board', but her friend could see bubbles coming out of her nose.
Jean was rushed to hospital where she did not respond to anything, with the doctor treating her even saying she looked 'like a frozen piece of meat'.
She was so frozen that doctors couldn't administer her with an IV as their needles kept breaking on her skin.
Her body temperature was about 27C, 10 degrees below normal body temperature and in the zone where a person's hypothermia is life threatening without medical attention.
That she was able to survive six hours is incredible, but what turned this into a medical miracle is that she was able to make a full recovery.
Doctors used heating pads to warm her up and, within a few hours, Jean was able to defrost with no long-term health issues, only having a few numb toes.
She went from perfectly healthy to a life threatening body temperature, and being so frozen that she appeared to be dead, back to rude health in a matter of hours.
While advances in medical technology mean a person could have a better chance of surviving such an ordeal today, what's incredible is that doctors treating Jean were in a rural hospital with only heating pads to thaw her out.
Modern hospitals have equipment that can restore warmth to a person's vital organs and give them a better chance of surviving after being exposed for several hours in freezing conditions.
Still, we wouldn't recommend trying to recreate her frozen state since the freezing cold temperatures are life threatening and can make a person appear as though they are dead with no breathing or response to stimuli.
Jean Hilliard's survival was seen as a medical miracle, but even with modern medical equipment please don't make a TikTok challenge out of getting yourself frozen in the same way or something.