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Paul Pless
01-03-2012, 08:08 AM
Suspect in the fatal shooting of a Mount Rainier Park Ranger, Benjamin Colton Barnes, 24, was lying partially submerged in a frigid mountain creek with snow banks standing several feet high on each side.
"He was wearing T-shirt, a pair of jeans and one tennis shoe. That was it,"



Why do victims of hypothermia often shed their clothing before death?

Tylerdurden
01-03-2012, 08:14 AM
Yes. Not all the time but often. This guy had solid military training so I wonder if he survived after. Did you see his photos? Another gang member.

Paul Pless
01-03-2012, 08:18 AM
Yes. Not all the time but often.I've heard this phenomenom many times in Alabama. Quite a few hypothermia deaths there every year. I actually saved a guys life once that surely would have died of hypothermia.

stevebaby
01-03-2012, 08:22 AM
Why do victims of hypothermia often shed their clothing before death?Because hypothermia makes the patient irrational. I had it once...we were walking through knee deep snow in a stormand I thought it was a sunny day and we were walking through grass. I was quite mad.
The others zipped a couple of sleeping bags together and got me into it with two good looking girls, but we had been bush walking for two weeks without being able to wash, so we were all pretty rank.
I can remember that I felt quite warm and comfortable out in the snow but I only got as far as removing my parka, then one of the others recognized the symptoms of hypothermia (I wasn't shivering, and I should have been). It's a very painless way to die.

Paul Pless
01-03-2012, 08:27 AM
It's a very painless way to die.I can see that. The guy I rescued had other injuries, quite severe: broken ribs,a punctured lung, and a concussion. He was freaking shaking uncontrollably, yet when I pulled him out of the river he was unaware of how severely he was injured* and blabbering that he was okay and was gonna get back in his boat (wrecked) and head home.

Dude had the biggest bump on his head I've ever seen on anybody. It was ******* amazing, about the size of a large orange!

Tylerdurden
01-03-2012, 08:30 AM
I've heard this phenomenom many times in Alabama. Quite a few hypothermia deaths there every year. I actually saved a guys life once that surely would have died of hypothermia.

If you single hand like I do in the Atlantic you better be very aware of the onset. Easy to head down that road at night in July while manning the helm. That idiot I was transiting his boat for ran down in the cabin at the first sign of a t-storm leaving me at the helm all night soaked and freezing. No chance on leaving the helm in those conditions so I wrapped up in a tarp like a teepee to avoid it. In real cold weather it comes on very fast. Still enjoy December sails though but the airpot full of coffee is right at hand.

Paul Pless
01-03-2012, 08:34 AM
What happens in the South is that even January and February have really nice days. The day I rescued that dude it was January 4th I believe. It was in the high seventies at around noon. But when I found that guy it was close to dark, in the low thirties, and windy. My friend and I were the only other people on an isolated river that day.

stevebaby
01-03-2012, 08:35 AM
I can see that. The guy I rescued had other injuries, quite severe: broken ribs,a punctured lung, and a concussion. He was freaking shaking uncontrollably, yet when I pulled him out of the river he was blabbering that he was okay and was gonna get back in his boat (wrecked) and head home.What surprised me was how rapidly it affected me.
I was in Tasmania at the time. the local ranger told us that they had recovered the body of a local man who had gone for a cross country run dressed in t shirt and shorts. there wasn't a cloud in the sky when he set out, but weather can change very quickly down there, and it did. They found him 10km. from where he started. He was apparently very fit and had lived all his life in the district, so he should have known better.
There was a similar event in NZ. A cross country runner in a race stopped to tie his shoelace and that's how they found him, lying dead on his side with his hands reaching for the laces.

Paul Pless
01-03-2012, 08:37 AM
. . .that's how they found him, lying dead on his side with his hands reaching for the laces.Maybe he was getting ready to take his shoes off. . .

stevebaby
01-03-2012, 08:41 AM
Maybe he was getting ready to take his shoes off. . .He very well might have. It's not only the cold that kills. It's sudden heat loss, and if he was running his body temp. would have been raised...stop running...sudden heat loss if the ambient temp. is low.
Something to be aware of in your neck of the woods for sure.

Ian McColgin
01-03-2012, 08:42 AM
Like training pilots to recognize monoxide poisoning and high altitude anoxia, some mountain rescue programs train people to know hypothermia's onset in themselves as well as in others. That experience certainly added to my life expectancy a couple of times.

Canoez
01-03-2012, 08:42 AM
We were paddling in the Grand Lake Stream area in Maine in August. The day before we were to paddle to our take-out, we had done a 2 mile portage with boats and gear. Weather was grey and overcast that day with mist, but not all that cold. That night, unbeknownst to us, a hurricane was rolling up the coast and the weather was wet and windy, but warm - in the high 60's and low 70's. My father, who hadn't slept well that night came down with all of the symptoms. We had to stop on a small river and find firewood in a bog to make a fire and get him warm. We fed him high-calorie foods and got him some more dry clothes and he was fine, but it was scary at the time. He appeared to be sweating, but was clammy, shaking and cold. Watch out. It can get you whenever.

stevebaby
01-03-2012, 08:49 AM
I remember vaguely being quite warm and totally unconcerned about tossing a new Goretex parka into the snow. I was very lucky I was with people who knew what to do.
Even in summer here, I always carry waterproofs and thermals when bushwalking.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
01-03-2012, 09:30 AM
Why do victims of hypothermia often shed their clothing before death?


The others zipped a couple of sleeping bags together and got me into it with two good looking girls, but we had been bush walking for two weeks without being able to wash, so we were all pretty rank.


And here we have the answer - Did not "discard" the clothing - it was removed by a well wisher at stage one of the condition - the victim died after being ejected from the sleeping bag for poor personal hygene.

Remember to pack the deodorant.

Dan McCosh
01-03-2012, 09:31 AM
My daughter, who used to work in cold streams, as a research biologist, had two onsets. Both times, her co-workers noticed her talking incoherently, and got her warmed up. It is a pretty dangerous onset of irrationality, which makes saving yourself pretty much impossible.

Bruce Hooke
01-03-2012, 09:37 AM
Because hypothermia makes the patient irrational.

My understanding is that it goes much deeper than this. I don't understand the physiology but my understanding is that in the later stages of hypothermia your body actually perceives itself to be too warm and so you shed clothes in an effort to cool off.

For what it's worth, the current thinking on treating a hypothermia victims is that putting warm people in the sleeping bag with the victim does not really help much. It does not really hurt either so in a case where, say, it is a couple where one is suffering from hypothermia and the other is warm but very scared of losing their partner putting them in a sleeping bag together can be a good idea. Otherwise, get any wet clothing off the victim, dry them off, get them inside a sleeping bag or ideally multiple sleeping bags and if available wrap up the whole works with a tarp, leaving them space to breath, of course, and for you to monitor their condition. That, at least, is what I remembering learning when I took a wilderness first aid course 3 years ago.

stevebaby
01-03-2012, 09:41 AM
And here we have the answer - Did not "discard" the clothing - it was removed by a well wisher at stage one of the condition - the victim died after being ejected from the sleeping bag for poor personal hygene.

Remember to pack the deodorant.No room in the rucksack...we were carrying 3 weeks worth of food. One of the girls in the sleeping bag told us when were packing and discarding stuff that she had saved weight by discarding all her knickers. She wore the same pair for 3 weeks, which kinda removed any possibility of romance. Even I have standards, low though they may be.

Paul Pless
01-03-2012, 09:44 AM
Remember to pack the deodorant.or patchouli

Canoez
01-03-2012, 09:46 AM
My understanding is that it goes much deeper than this. I don't understand the physiology but my understanding is that in the later stages of hypothermia your body actually perceives itself to be too warm and so you shed clothes in an effort to cool off.

For what it's worth, the current thinking on treating a hypothermia victims is that putting warm people in the sleeping bag with the victim does not really help much. It does not really hurt either so in a case where, say, it is a couple where one is suffering from hypothermia and the other is warm but very scared of losing their partner putting them in a sleeping bag together can be a good idea. Otherwise, get any wet clothing off the victim, dry them off, get them inside a sleeping bag or ideally multiple sleeping bags and if available wrap up the whole works with a tarp, leaving them space to breath, of course, and for you to monitor their condition. That, at least, is what I remembering learning when I took a wilderness first aid course 3 years ago.

The problem with hypothermia victims is they get to a point where the body cannot re-warm itself because the shivering response has been suppressed and core temperature is too low. You can dry them off, get them in multiple sleeping bags, the whole 9 yards. If you don't get external warmth to them in the form of calories and externally applied heat, they will not re-warm.

Peerie Maa
01-03-2012, 09:52 AM
As the body cooles the blood is drawn into the core as the capiliaries and so on in the skin and outer layers shut down. This is how the body protects the vital organs. Then as cooling continues the body loses control, the surface circulatory system opens up again and the warm core blood flows throuth the skin, so the victim feels wonderfully hot. Then as this heat is lost you die.

Bruce Hooke
01-03-2012, 10:04 AM
The problem with hypothermia victims is they get to a point where the body cannot re-warm itself because the shivering response has been suppressed and core temperature is too low. You can dry them off, get them in multiple sleeping bags, the whole 9 yards. If you don't get external warmth to them in the form of calories and externally applied heat, they will not re-warm.

Yes. Sleeping bags only work to a point. Adding calories is always good as well. If the victim is in particularly bad shape only advanced medical care offers any hope.

My point was that current thinking is apparently that "externally applied heat" in the form of another human body does not do anything to help. I do not know why.

Bruce Hooke
01-03-2012, 10:05 AM
As the body cooles the blood is drawn into the core as the capiliaries and so on in the skin and outer layers shut down. This is how the body protects the vital organs. Then as cooling continues the body loses control, the surface circulatory system opens up again and the warm core blood flows throuth the skin, so the victim feels wonderfully hot. Then as this heat is lost you die.

Thanks. That makes sense.

htom
01-03-2012, 10:46 AM
As the body cools the blood is drawn into the core as the capillaries and so on in the skin and outer layers shut down. This is how the body protects the vital organs. Then as cooling continues the body loses control, the surface circulatory system opens up again and the warm core blood flows through the skin, so the victim feels wonderfully hot. Then as this heat is lost you die.

Well explained. It's hard to detect it in yourself when it happens, even if you're well aware of the problems it can cause. One of the real dangers of being alone in the outdoors.

Tylerdurden
01-03-2012, 10:48 AM
Yes. Sleeping bags only work to a point. Adding calories is always good as well. If the victim is in particularly bad shape only advanced medical care offers any hope.

My point was that current thinking is apparently that "externally applied heat" in the form of another human body does not do anything to help. I do not know why.

I think you should try to learn more.

htom
01-03-2012, 11:01 AM
External heating, especially of the limbs, tends to deliver cold blood to the heart, causing arrhythmia and death. There's discussion of whether another body in the sleeping bag is sufficient to cause this or not; this is complicated by caring for that caregiver, who is going to be in a bad place mentally if the victim dies, whether or not they climbed into the bag, they will blame themselves.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/first-aid-hypothermia/FA00017

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hypothermia/DS00333/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs

Tylerdurden
01-03-2012, 11:13 AM
External heating, especially of the limbs, tends to deliver cold blood to the heart, causing arrhythmia and death. There's discussion of whether another body in the sleeping bag is sufficient to cause this or not; this is complicated by caring for that caregiver, who is going to be in a bad place mentally if the victim dies, whether or not they climbed into the bag, they will blame themselves.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/first-aid-hypothermia/FA00017



http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hypothermia/DS00333/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs

Absent of proper medical care what is the safe way to save someone? There is a risk no matter how its done in the field and if someone is that close to death already the risks outweighs doing nothing. I think the odds of climbing into a bag with someone and killing them are minuscule in comparison to not climbing in.

Bruce Hooke
01-03-2012, 11:19 AM
Thanks htom. That makes sense. At a practical level a key thing I take away from the current state of knowledge as I understand it is that it is not vital to get someone into the sleeping bag with the victim so the decision about whether to follow that course can be made on the scene. For example, if there are only two people at the site, the victim and one caregiver, it would likely make more sense to keep the caregiver outside the sleeping bag where they can be more effective at doing things like providing warm beverages and so on. Even with two or even three caregivers available I still think all the available caregivers might be better employed doing things like preparing warm beverages, monitoring the victim or even going to get help if that is a viable option and appears to be necessary.

Bruce Taylor
01-03-2012, 11:22 AM
Absent of proper medical care what is the safe way to save someone?

The second of htom's Mayo clinic links gives a helpful list of things you can do. "Share body heat" is on the list.

Tylerdurden
01-03-2012, 11:25 AM
The second of htom's Mayo clinic links gives a helpful list of things you can do. "Share body heat" is on the list.

Yep, Thanks Bruce. I come from "Keep as many men at as many guns as long as possible" Life is risk and I am not going to take a vote or discuss survival when its that close. I think its called over thinking a problem.

Yeadon
01-03-2012, 11:29 AM
Suspect in the fatal shooting of a Mount Rainier Park Ranger, Benjamin Colton Barnes, 24, was lying partially submerged in a frigid mountain creek with snow banks standing several feet high on each side.
"He was wearing T-shirt, a pair of jeans and one tennis shoe. That was it,"

I read that this guy fled his car in a hurry. He left behind all his survival gear.

Paul Pless
01-03-2012, 11:32 AM
He left behind all his survival gear.He took his guns. :d



I now can guarantee this thread goes at least six pages.

htom
01-03-2012, 11:34 AM
Absent of proper medical care what is the safe way to save someone? There is a risk no matter how its done in the field and if someone is that close to death already the risks outweighs doing nothing. I think the odds of climbing into a bag with someone and killing them are minuscule in comparison to not climbing in.

There's no safe way in the field. Really, not even in a hospital, but there you have many more options. I will not blame someone for getting into a sleeping bag to help warm someone. Rubbing their arms and legs, that I might blame them for.

Part of wilderness first aid is recognizing that you're going to fail, you will have patients die even when you've done everything correctly. CPR has lousy odds, even in the city with a response team seconds away. You do CPR anyway, you do it past the point that you think it's hopeless, and then do more. And you will always, always, always wonder if you'd only done one more push ... there can be madness down there. You have to take care of the caregivers as well as the patients.

Get them out of the wind. Dry them off. Put them in dry clothes. Lay them on a sleeping bag, cover with another. Give warm fluids -- not alcohol -- warm enemas. You want to warm them from the inside to the outside, if possible.

Quoting that first link from the Mayo Clinic --

To care for someone with hypothermia:

Call 911 or emergency medical assistance. While waiting for help to arrive, monitor the person's breathing. If breathing stops or seems dangerously slow or shallow, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately.
Move the person out of the cold. If going indoors isn't possible, protect the person from the wind, cover his or her head, and insulate his or her body from the cold ground.
Remove wet clothing. Replace wet things with a warm, dry covering.
Don't apply direct heat. Don't use hot water, a heating pad or a heating lamp to warm the victim. Instead, apply warm compresses to the center of the body — head, neck, chest wall and groin. Don't attempt to warm the arms and legs. Heat applied to the arms and legs forces cold blood back toward the heart, lungs and brain, causing the core body temperature to drop. This can be fatal.
Don't give the person alcohol. Offer warm nonalcoholic drinks, unless the person is vomiting.
Don't massage or rub the person. Handle people with hypothermia gently; their skin may be frostbitten, and rubbing frostbitten tissue can cause severe damage.

Ian McColgin
01-03-2012, 11:41 AM
If a person is hypothermic to unconsciousness or very very near, warming from outside risks drawing blood through the capillaries towards the warmer surface and thus passing through colder tissue out and back, resulting in a potentially lethal lowering of core temperature. If the person is conscious, warm fluid even if just water and even if tossed right back up, is good. If unconscious, a warm enema will help. The horrific and infameous Nazi hypothermia experiements established that external warming, including sexual stimulation, does not work for advanced hypothermia though if you're just a bit chilled it can be fun.

Tylerdurden
01-03-2012, 11:44 AM
Well I Have learned to keep that enema bag handy at all times. :)

Bruce Hooke
01-03-2012, 11:59 AM
One important factor to consider may be whether good warm sleeping bags and the like are available. If not then clearly even just the insulating effect of a warm body or warm bodies next to the victim is going to be very helpful. At the other end of the scale, with really warm sleeping bags available the heat from that extra person may well not be as relevant and the small risk of causing harm by putting a person in the bag with the victim may not outweigh the apparently very limited benefit to be gained by doing so.

In the end, all I can hope to do as someone without advanced emergency medical training is try to listen to what the people with such training are recommending and go from there.

It does occur to me that one of the reasons why a warm person in the bag with the victim may not do very much is if most blood flow to near the skin has already shut down then externally applied heat may not do very much to warm the core. The sleeping bag(s) stop further heat loss and then the key is to get warmth down inside, or if the victim is not too far gone just allow their system to catch up and warm them up. Another reason why another person may well not help very much is because even in a case of severe hypothermia the internal body temperature has only dropped 10 to 15 degrees below normal so the heat transfer from the warm body and the victim will be very slow since there is not really that much heat differential.

Bruce Hooke
01-03-2012, 12:00 PM
If a person is hypothermic to unconsciousness or very very near, warming from outside risks drawing blood through the capillaries towards the warmer surface and thus passing through colder tissue out and back, resulting in a potentially lethal lowering of core temperature. If the person is conscious, warm fluid even if just water and even if tossed right back up, is good. If unconscious, a warm enema will help. The horrific and infameous Nazi hypothermia experiements established that external warming, including sexual stimulation, does not work for advanced hypothermia though if you're just a bit chilled it can be fun.

Thanks Ian. That makes sense.

Bobcat
01-03-2012, 01:00 PM
I experienced the feeling once. I was so cold and suddenly felt warm. Fortunately, I recognized it as a sign of hypothermia and the person that I was with did as well. We went inside. I can understand the discarding of clothes based on what I went through