Young Woman saved after 4 hours of CPR!

Article by Ian Austin and appeared online at The Province website:

Four hours of CPR by six strangers saves life of frozen Calgary snowshoer

An unlikely duet rang out Sunday in the Intensive Care Unit at Vancouver General Hospital.

Christine Newman, buried in snow up to her chin for hours and saved from death by a devoted crew of strangers after her heart stopped beating, started the song weakly.

Ernestine Newman, a grateful and emotional mom speaking of faith and devotion and miracles, chimed in.

“There Can Be Miracles,” they sang, and surely anyone who has heard of Christine’s mountain resuscitation can’t help agreeing.

Christine, an athletic young Calgary woman of 24, set out April 1 for a return day hike into a remote area of Garibaldi Park near Squamish.

Fifteen kilometres through the treacherous snow conditions — a crusty top layer that often gave way under the weight of a hiker or snowshoer ­— she stopped at a warming hut, where six fellow hikers she had just met convinced her to spend the night.

At about 2 a.m., unknown to any of her new friends, Christine left the hut in search of an outhouse, became disoriented and fell into a tree well.

In the morning the group of six headed out to continue their trek — assuming Christine had headed back to the parking lot. Then they stumbled upon a backpack.

“They knew immediately it was Christine’s pack, and they started a search,” said John Newman, Christine’s father. “Eventually they found her — all they could see was her head.”

There were no signs of life, but six strangers suddenly pulled out all the stops to save a young woman they barely knew.

“They are absolute heroes,” said John Newman. “Her guardian angel was looking after her that night.

“She used up about seven of her nine lives.”

For four incredibly long hours, the group struggled to save the young woman, working in shifts to perform CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and to prepare a helicopter landing pad for the rescuers they hoped were on their way.

Search and rescue officials eventually made their way to the remote site, and the race against time continued as they whisked Christine to VGH.

“There are so many things that shouldn’t have happened, that did,” said Ernestine Newman, still thunderstruck by the mountainside miracle.

“The fact that she left her pack in the middle of a narrow path in the middle of a mountain range, the fact that the group chose that path, the fact that they didn’t turn back because of the conditions, the way they found her with only her head showing.

“They forged a team of human beings working together to save another human life.”

Dr. Vinay Dhingra, a VGH critical care physician who received hugs from the grateful mother, said stories of cold-weather survival happen occasionally, usually involving children submerged in water.

“If a person has a heart attack and their heart stops, there’s usually only about 20 to 30 minutes,” said Dhingra. “If they get gradually colder, their metabolism slows down, and they have longer.”

In Christine’s case, much longer, thanks to the hikers who helped.

“They ran the marathon,” said John Newman, saluting the Olympic-sized effort put out by his daughter’s saviours.

“If I had six gold medals to give out, these are the six people I would give them to.”

Dhingra said Christine Newman has very little of the discoloration that is usually associated with frostbite.

Preparations are being made to release her from intensive care, with the incredibly fortunate 24-year-old’s main complaint being a little numbness that makes her hands and feet feel “sparkly.”