Much of the United States has been hit with a massive cold front lately. In many areas of the country, sub-zero temperatures have been recorded over the past week. On Saturday, a potent combination of freezing temperatures and too much alcohol nearly killed a Minnesota-Duluth college student.
Last week, 19 year old Alyssa Jo Lommel went out partying with her friends. A post on her Twitter account from that day reveals she took at least 10 shots of tequila while playing a drinking game with friends. At the end of the night, she was dropped off at her house.
Her friends told authorities they thought Lommel was tipsy but not to the point that she’d fall unconscious before getting inside. They drove off after Lommel got out of the car. But as many of us know all too well, people are often far more intoxicated than they seem. Lommel passed out in her yard that night and spent over nine hours in -18 degree weather.
At 9:30am the next morning, a couple noticed Lommel passed out in front of her house. Her hands were swollen to over three times their size. It was obvious she had severe hypothermia. Immediately, an ambulance was called and Lommel was taken to Regents Hospital in St. Paul.
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At the hospital, doctors performed emergency surgery to repair blood flow to her right arm. Both her feet and hands suffered severe frostbite. Doctors are fervently trying to save her extremities from amputation, but nothing is certain at this point. Her condition is listed as “stable-critical.”
What is certain, though, is that Lommel would have died if she hadn’t been seen by her neighbors. For that, her parents are incredibly thankful.
“We owe Alyssa’s life to you two (the neighbors). Our family cannot be grateful enough that you happened to see her,” a note from Lomel’s mother said. “She could not have survived much longer out in the elements. You two will forever be in our hearts and prayers and we cannot thank you enough for what you did.”
As for Alyssa Jo’s extremities, her parents say there is little certainty about what will happen at this time.
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“It’s very much a wait-and-see thing at the moment,” Lommel said. “It’s going to take some time to determine what’s going to happen.We are hopeful that her body will heal itself.”