Jean Hilliard was just 19 years old on December 20th, 1980, when her car skidded off the road on the way home from a friend’s house in Minnesota.
Luckily, she didn’t sustain any serious injuries, however it was -22ºF outside. She realized that she would probably freeze to death if someone didn’t find her fast. She decided to walk to a nearby friend’s house, reports The New York Times.
But her friend’s house was further away than she thought, around two miles. Her legs were exhausted and frozen, and Jean collapsed just a few meters away from the house. It was 6 hours before her friend found her there, lying face down in the snow.
It was 7 in the morning when Wally Nelson left for work and found her frozen in the snow.
Wally knew that she needed help quickly, but because Jean’s body was completely frozen he couldn’t fit her into the car without placing her diagonally. As soon as Jean was in the car, Wally raced to the hospital.
The doctors did everything they could, but they were sceptical that Jean could be saved.
Her skin was so frozen that doctors couldn’t penetrate it with intravenous drips or take her temperature.
“The body was cold, completely solid, just like a piece of meat out of a deep freeze,” Dr. George Sather says.
The only thing they could do was wrap her in an electric blanket, and wait.
After defrosting for 2-3 hours, the doctors heard something unexpected in Jean’s body. A heartbeat.
Slowly but surely Jean started breathing and showing signs of revival, although she was only taking a few breaths per minute.
Miraculously, Jean showed more signs of life with every hour that went by.
There was still a long way to go, but Jean was moving in the right direction.
While she was in hospital, Jean had such serious frostbite that doctors believed they would have to amputate both of her legs.
Jean spent six days in intensive care before she was moved to a general ward. After 49 days she could finally go home. Apart from a few scars, her frostbite had disappeared completely, and she didn’t need to have her legs or even any toes amputated.
She still has a long way to go before she’s completely healthy again, but her quick recovery is still a real miracle!
Sometimes, it’s just not your time to go. Share this story if you also believe in fate!
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