Winter Exposure Incident with Good Outcome
March 14, 2016
submitted by the Mammoth Lakes Fire Department
There was an incident that occurred recently in Mammoth Lakes where a snow removal operator observed what appeared to resemble a body located under a dusting of new fallen snow and stopped to investigate. What he found was an individual lying in a fetal position outside a local business partially covered with snow. He was unable to get a response and notified 9-1-1.
The operator, a Mammoth Lakes local, Jesus Morales, an employee of Construction Specialty, was at the business to remove snow when he observed what looked like a person lying on the ground outside the business. The individual was lying in close proximity to some clothing. It appears that the individual had shed some of their outer clothing (as is sometimes common when an individual gets exposed to the later stages of hypothermia) and laid down near the front door of the business sometime during the nighttime hours.
The call to 9-1-1 resulted in a response from Mono County Paramedics, Mammoth Lakes Fire, Mono County Sheriff’s Department, and Mammoth Lakes Police Department. The individual was evaluated, found to be semi-comatose but combative, and was transported to Mammoth Hospital. While the individual’s core body temperature was found to be just over 82 degrees, the individual has made a complete recovery. This is a surprising, but welcome outcome, as a human body with a core temperature of around 82 degrees usually does not fair so well.
This incident has a successful outcome due to an individual seeing something that was not right, and the willingness of this individual to take the necessary action to seek the appropriate care such that a life was saved. Mr. Morales is a caring community member for being observant and choosing to get involved to make a difference.