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A British woman whose heart stopped beating for six hours has been brought back to life in what doctors have described as an “exceptional case”.
Mrs Schoeman, who has made a near-full recovery after the ordeal, says she hopes to be hiking again by spring.
The 34-year-old, who lives in Barcelona, began having trouble speaking and moving during severe weather in the Pyrenees, later falling unconscious.
At a press conference on Thursday, Mr Schoeman told Catalan channel TV3: “I was trying to feel a pulse… I couldn’t feel a breath, I couldn’t feel a heartbeat.”
When the rescue team arrived two hours later, Mrs Schoeman’s body temperature had fallen to 18C.
Upon arrival at Barcelona’s Vall d’Hebron Hospital, she had no vital signs.
But the low mountain temperatures which made Mrs Schoeman ill also helped to save her life, her doctor Eduard Argudo has said.
“She looked as though she was dead,” he said in a statement.
“But we knew that, in the context of hypothermia, Audrey had a chance of surviving.”
Hypothermia had protected her body and brain from deteriorating while unconscious, Mr Argudo said, despite also bringing her to the brink of death.
In a race against time, doctors treating Mrs Schoeman turned to a specialised machine capable of removing blood, infusing it with oxygen and reintroducing it to the patient.
Speaking after her recovery, Mrs Schoeman paid tribute to hospital staff and said she has no memory of the six hours.
“It’s like a miracle except it’s all because of the doctors,” she said.
She added that she likely would not return to the mountains this winter.
source : bbc