Woman survives after heart stops for six hours
December 7, 2019 | 3 comments
The extreme cold helped to preserve her vital organs. Image Credit: CC BY 3.0 Roman Lysogor
The 34-year-old hiker succumbed to hypothermia after getting caught in a snowstorm in the Pyrenees.
Audrey Schoeman, who lives in Barcelona, began to experience difficulty talking and moving after the freezing weather closed in during an ill-fated hiking trip in the mountains.
Her condition deteriorated while waiting for emergency services to arrive and by the time doctors were finally able to resuscitate her she had been technically 'dead' for an incredible six hours.
Speaking to the BBC's Today programme, she said she recalls nothing about the experience.
"[It was] much worse [for my husband]," she said. "By the time I came round in hospital I knew it was serious as my parents were there but I did not feel like I was at risk of dying, whereas everyone else spent the last few days thinking there was a very good chance I wasn't coming back."
"The first few days were quite blurry, I was on quite a lot of medication."
According to her doctor Eduard Argudo, the extreme cold was ultimately responsible for making it possible to bring her back. A special machine had to be used to re-oxygenate her blood and it was only once her body temperature had risen again that she could be revived with a defibrillator.
If her heart had stopped for six hours at room temperature there's no way she would have made it.
"I had an understanding of what happened but did not know how lucky I was to have survived it," she said. "I like the life I had before I had the accident, I am not going to be quitting my job or anything like that. I am looking forward to embracing it because I know I'm lucky to have a second chance again."
Source: BBC News
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