Today in 2000, a woman in Norway survives the unsurvivable.

She suffered extreme hypothermia, and doctors brought her back to life.

This is the story of Dr. Anna Bågenholm, who was training back then to become an orthopedic surgeon.

Outside work, she would often go skiing with several other early career doctors.

On May 20th, 2000, they were skiing on a familiar trail, around a waterfall in northern Norway.

But as they descended, Bågenholm fell onto a layer of ice over a stream.

And then she went in. Headfirst.

Her friends tried but couldn’t pull her out.

Bågenholm had an air pocket, so she wasn’t drowning, but in all that cold water, her body temperature was dropping and dropping.

And emergency responders were still far away.

Bågenholm stayed conscious for 40 minutes, but by the time the rescue team arrived, her body temperature was below 57 degrees Fahrenheit.

She had no pulse and she had stopped breathing.

By all accounts she was gone.

But there’s an old saying in the country that you’re not dead until you’re warm and dead.

An ER doctor, Mads Gilbert, realized that because of the way that she went into the water, without any other major injury, the cold might have preserved Bågenholm rather than finished her off.

And the CPR she’d received afterward may have done just enough to protect her brain.

For nine hours a team of more than 100 doctors and nurses resuscitated her, slowly rewarming her body and restarting her heart and lungs.

She was on life support for more than a month, and rehab took over a year, but Bågenholm made a full recovery.

Doctors have used her case to save others who have faced extreme hypothermia.

In some cases, doctors have used therapeutic hypothermia, deliberately cooling patient’s bodies to help them through some procedures.

As for Anna Bågenholm, she returned to skiing.

And, eventually, she become a radiologist at the very hospital that brought her back to life from the lowest body temperature ever survived by a human being.

Tomorrow in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, it’s the Kielbasi Festival/Heritage Day.

The community has a Parade of Nations to celebrate its many different ethnicities.

Then people eat kielbasi and pierogies and lots more.

Frozen Woman: A ‘Walking Miracle’ (CBS News)

Between life and death – the power of therapeutic hypothermia (The Guardian)

Kielbasi Festival/Heritage Day 2022

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