Deep freeze turns dangerous: Woman found outside suffering from hypothermia

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CLEVELAND- The cold weather in Northeast Ohio is not just uncomfortable, but it can also be dangerous.  A local woman is taken to the hospital after she was found outside suffering from severe hypothermia.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the woman was listed in critical condition at MetroHealth Medical Center, according to city spokesman Dan Williams.

"I was leaving out, coming out of my driveway and she was right here, with her face in the snow," said neighbor Brittany Wilson.

People who live on Vashti Avenue on Cleveland's east side called authorities after they discovered the woman lying in the snow around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.  At the time, the temperature had dipped to 10 degrees.

"It looked like she was walking and gave out, you know, that's the way she was laying. It wasn't as if somebody threw her," said neighbor Blanche Lackey.

A city spokesman told FOX 8 that the woman is in her 60s and was suffering from severe hypothermia.  He said paramedics helped her with breathing, gave her IV fluids and warmed her up with hot packs and blankets before taking her to the hospital.

"If you're in the more severe stages, you would have to treat the more life-threatening injuries, such as the heart, airway, altered mental status, along those lines; but re-warming is the main treatment," said Dr. Jeffrey Luk, an emergency room physician at University Hospitals.

Dr. Luk said with the cold temperatures arriving early in the season, people need to know how to prevent hypothermia.

"If you have to be outside, dress warmly, multiple layers, but if there's no need to be outside, especially at night when it's probably the coldest temperatures, to stay indoors in a heated environment," said Dr. Luk.

"She had on a black coat, black coat, some boots, some jeans, she was dressed all the way, fully dressed, hat scarf all that," said Wilson.

"I just felt bad that she was out there and God knows how long she was out there," said Lackey.

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