The night of December 20 to 21, 1981 was particularly harsh in Minnesota, a 19-year-old young woman learned it the hard way. After a festive evening, Jean Hilliard takes histo go home, but on the way her car breaks down. Dressed in a , a pair of gloves and cowboy boots on her feet, she gets out of the vehicle to seek help from a friend. She thought he lived nearby. The night is cold, icy even: the indicates -30°C.
After five kilometers of walking, she finally approaches the house of her friend, Wally, but she stumbles and falls in, unconscious. Jean will stay there in the cold for six hours, until Wally comes out of his house in the early morning and finds her, lifeless and “frozen”. ” I thought she was dead, but bubbles were coming out of her nose “says Wally. Pulling her by the collar back inside her house, then taking her to the Fosston ER, he saved her life. Because Jean survived his “freezing”, which, more than thirty years later, still remains partially unexplained.
A heart that beats 20 times per minute and an internal temperature of 27°C
Jean suffered from severe hypothermia which hardened her whole body, the doctors who took care of her said that it was impossible to prick her skin to infuse it. Her face was very pale and herhard, and his heart was only beating twelve times a minute. ” His body was cold, completely solidified, like a piece of meat from the freezer. “recalls one of the doctors. His internal temperature was 27°C, 10°C lower than normal body temperature. It was therefore not truly frozen.
Thanks to heating pads, the doctors gradually “thawed” Jean by gently increasing hisbodily. By noon on December 31, she was able to speak again and had only minor sequelae. She left the hospital a few days later and went on with her normal life.
How did John survive? It’s hard to say.– ice – takes up more space than water . The frozen cytoplasm of a cell then risks deforming the latter and causing it to explode. Crystals can also form, in pronounced angles they can also pierce the cells. Some animals are able to synthesize “anti-freeze” that allow them to freeze without dying. This is particularly the case of the frog of the Lithobates sylvaticus. . The only certainty is that Jean was very lucky.