Medics use shopping cart full of ice to immerse patient suffering heat stroke

First responders arrived on scene to find an unresponsive man with a core temperature of 108.2 degrees


By Priscilla Aguirre
San Antonio Express-News

AUSTIN — First responders in Travis County needed to make a quick "improvised decision" Tuesday in order to save a patient, who was experiencing a life-threatening, heat-related emergency.

Medics, from Austin Travis County Emergency Medical Services, responded to a call just before 5 p.m. regarding a man who had collapsed outside a business in the 9900 block of Interstate 35, according to Darren Noak, a captain with the company.

Immersing the man in ice allowed the patient's temperature to "safely" drop to 101.4 before being transported to a local hospital. (Photo/Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services)
Immersing the man in ice allowed the patient's temperature to "safely" drop to 101.4 before being transported to a local hospital. (Photo/Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services)

When first responders arrived at the scene, they found the man unresponsive with a core temperature of 108.2 degrees, Noak said.

After medics tried "everything possible" to cool the patient down, they decided to immerse the man in a Sam's Club grocery cart filled with ice and water to prevent greater brain damage.

"The deputy director in charge made the call to bring down his temperature before transporting him to the hospital," Noak said. "Thankfully, Sam's (Club) was right there and they donated the tarp, the bags of ice and water for the medics to treat the patient quickly."

That action allowed the patient's temperature to "safely" drop to 101.4 before being transported to a local hospital, Noak said.

Noak said the incident serves as a reminder to not be complacent with the recent string of heat advisories the region has seen.

 

#ATCEMSMedics urge you not to become complacent with the continued heat advisories that #ATCEMS & the US National...

Posted by Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services on Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The National Weather Service again on Wednesday issued a heat advisory for San Antonio.

With the triple-digit weather continuing this week, the NWS advises people to take the appropriate precautions if they are participating in outdoor activities or will be outdoors for an extended period of time.

"There is a reason people keep seeing the media hammering in on these heat advisories," Noak said. "If you or someone else shows signs of heat exhaustion, please immediately call for medical help."

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