Friday, December 15, 2023

Jean Hillard: A Frozen Miracle.

 Caitlyn McKenna 

In December 1980, a girl named Jean Hillard experienced a medical miracle that earned her the name “Frozen Woman .” This shocked everyone in her small town Lengby, Minnesota. Her story starts with a car accident, William DeLong wrote, in his article called “Jean Hilliard: The Woman who Froze Solid and Thawed Back to Life” 

“Snow begins to fall around the Cathedral of Saint Paul, Feb. 21, 2023,
at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, Minn.” Alex Kormann 

Jean was driving her father's truck that had no anti-brake locks, which caused it to be a very dangerous vehicle to drive on icy, slick roads. The truck ended up skidding on an ice patch and Jean ended up in a roadside ditch. Jean recalled that she went to look for help, walking in cowboy boots. She remembered getting frustrated thinking her friend Wally’s place was much closer than it was. When she finally saw lights, shining from Wally’s, everything around her went black – which was the last thing Jean could remember. When Wally and his wife got Jean to the hospital, Doctors were not optimistic about bringing her back since her skin was so frozen that no needle could prick her skin, they just broke from contact.  

But a medical miracle was formed hours later, when Jean awoke, talking about how she was worried about her father being upset about his wrecked truck. Many thought this miracle was due to the prayers that were being said, but science determines that our bodies can go through a state of hibernation. Since Jean was frozen solid, her blood slowed, and her need for oxygen was less causing her organs to remain safe and unharmed. Unlike most people that would’ve reacted to a second chance with a sense of gratefulness, Jean kept waiting for something big to happen. She says that it was as if she just went to sleep and woke up in the hospital which to her was uninteresting. 

“Frozen ordeal has happy ending” Thirteen towns newspaper, Fosston 

Life for Jean is nothing but ordinary with no health issues from that night. She’s had kids, been married, and she can now drive on icy roads at night. Meanwhile doctors are using the so-called hibernation to see if it be used to save people’s lives not only from hypothermia but also gunshot wounds, stabbings, and heart attacks. 


Works cited:  

DeLong, William. “Jean Hilliard: The Woman who Froze Solid and Thawed Back to Life”, allthatinteresting, Published 28, Jan. 2019 

Kormann, Alex. “Snow begins to fall around the Cathedral of Saint Paul, feb.21,2023, at the Minnesota state capitol in St. Paul, Minn.” Image. ABC news. Accessed 28, Oct. 2023 

Maury, Glover. “Minnesota’s ‘frozen woman’ alive and well decades later”, Published 2, March. 2020. 

Mcrae, Mike. “Amazing True Story: The Woman Who Survived Being ‘Frozen Solid’, science alert, Published 23, Oct. 2023 

Snopes staff. “Jean Hillard: Miracle on Ice” Snopes, Published 18, Feb. 2015 

Thirteen towns newspaper, Fosston. “Frozen ordeal has happy ending” Image. mprnews 

Further research: 

Department of public health. Connecticut's state. “Frostbite and Hypothermia” Accessed 25, Oct. 2023. This article by the department of public health of Connecticut talks about both hypothermia and frostbite. It lists the differences between the two and gives people an understanding of what to look for in case you feel like you might be experiencing one of the two. For frostbite people complain of loss of feeling and color in the affected area which is commonly fingers, cheeks, noses, and ears. Compared to hypothermia it is less serious since with hypothermia your body is losing more heat than it can produce. 

Rettner, Rachael. “How does a person freeze to death?’ livescience In her article she details how core temperatures drop, frostbite danger, and how our bodies have a built-in cold protection. One of the more interesting facts is the cold protection is named Vasoconstriction, it limits the amount of heat you lose to the environment. Another mechanism is how our bodies heat up is shivering, it produces heat and allows our temperatures to rise. 


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