Frozen Mythbusters: Myth #10 of 13.
There are a variety of myths regarding human response to cold exposure. These myths are explained and debunked by Dr. Murray Hamlet, DMV, Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht, PHD, and Frank Hubbell, DO. After posting the thirteen myths, a complete article from the Wilderness Medicine Newsletter will be loaded for anyone interested in all the chilly little details.
They are not dead until they are warm and dead.
This is always an interesting statement that does require a certain amount of common sense. In other words, there are limits. If you pull someone out from under the ice after 18 hours or dig them out of an avalanche after 24 hours, there is no hope of resuscitation.
Always, always, always, keep the rescue team in mind. Do not put their lives at risk in a heroic, dramatic resuscitation effort when the chances of recovering are zero.
Busted – It is a nice dramatic-sounding maxim, “not dead until warm and dead,” but if they are found dead and have been dead for a while, they will remain dead. Please, do not put the lives of others at risk to appear to be a hero. Remember, as Murray Hamlet says: “You’re never dead until you are warm and dead…unless you are cold and dead.”
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