Called at 0700 for a a Man Down. As we near the scene the update indicates it is a 93 year old woman in her driveway, confused and cold. I honestly expected the typical fall, and, it being 60 degrees out, she was likely a bit chilly….
What I FOUND was actually much more serious. We found a woman, lying on the driveway, wet clothes, and COLD. Very cold. No longer shivering cold. Cardiac dysrhythmia cold. She could tell me her name, and that was it. Neighbors had found her while out walking, and told me she lived alone in this huge old house in the old money neighborhood of little big town.
She was cold. Seriously cold. It is August, we’re not supposed to have hypothermia cases… but a few things left her little chance… She weighed… soaking wet, might you say… 80 pounds. I suspect that even without the dampness she would be damn cold. I suspect she has been down a long time. She has abrasions on her hips and shoulders from dong what some call the “crappie flop”. Further, at 0700, it is rare to find an elderly fall victim fully dressed. She had jeans, blouse, and shoes on. Most of our early morning fall victims have their pajamas on still.
What got me was that she was wet. Not damp, but soaked. No sprinklers near, no pool. I KNEW she had been out since 10pm last night… in the middle of a 3/4 inch downpoor. Poor thing had laid in her driveway, alone and affraid in the middle of a god damn thunderstorm. Then laid out all night, till a passerby noticed her–and I don’t know how they did! She lives on a secluded street up a bendy driveway. Lucky, if you can call her that.
In the field we can do little for cases like this. Warmed IV fluid, blankets, and heat packs in the arm pits is all I had. Fortunately it is a short jaunt to the ED.
Guess her core temp….
84.7 degrees. Yup. Thats cold. Beyond Stage 3 hypothermia. She was in V-Tach(which we did NOT treat due to temp), respiration of 9, but her eyes were open, almost as if they were trying to say something to me….
I’m not sure if she survived. Often times Stage 3 Hypothermia ends in Organ Failure and cell death. This call just goes to show you that you can’t walk into a call close minded. It is flipping August and I just ran a severe hypothermia call.