Hypothermic Man Brought Back to Life

About a year ago, Justin Smith, 26, was found almost frozen to death on the side of the road. The man from McAdoo was able to thank everyone who helped him survive on Monday.

Smith said, "I got done with work that day and we were going to the fire hall to hang out, having a couple drinks with some people, and I wanted to go home around 10 o'clock." On that cold night in February, he never made it home.

His father, Don Smith, found him the next day on the side of Treskow Road. Don Smith said "I looked over and there was Justin laying there and he was laying face up there like this. He was blue. His face he was lifeless. I checked for a pulse. I checked for a heartbeat. There was nothing."

Dr. Gerald Coleman said "The coroner was on scene. The state police were on scene. They were doing essentially a death investigation." Dr. Coleman went on to say that an emergency department physician at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Hazleton had refused to pronounce Justin dead.

Dr. Coleman stated "Our mind is supposed to run the show, not our hearts because if your heart runs the show, you can run into some problems. I just kind of threw that to the wind and said, 'No, not today.'" A Hazleton team then performed CPR on Justin for two hours.

He was transferred to Lehigh Valley Hospital Cedar Crest near Allentown where doctors used what's called an ECMO machine to warm up Justin's blood.

Justin's mom, Sissy Smith, said, "We knew we needed a big, big miracle." Doctors said that as Justin warmed up, his heart started beating. It took weeks for him to wake up and realize where he was.

Justin said, "It's like I woke up from a dream, but it wasn't a dream." Dr. John Castaldo of the Lehigh Valley Health Network said, "When you look at the science of what happened to Justin, it was really hard to imagine that anyone on Earth could survive this."

Justin is now back at Penn State pursuing his degree in psychology. Dr. Coleman said Justin's experience may change modern medicine practices for patients who are hypothermic.

Photo: Youtube

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