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Docs: Nearly Frozen Baby To Survive

February 27, 2001

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TORONTO (AP) _ A 13-month-old girl whose body was frozen and heart stopped during a winter’s night outside during the weekend was playing and talking to her mother Tuesday, her doctor said.

The toddler was ready to leave the intensive pediatric unit and move to a regular hospital room, Dr. Alf Conradi, the unit’s director at the Stollery Children’s Health Center, told reporters in Edmonton, Alberta.

He said the baby, who has not been identified, was interacting with her mother and being playful. She uttered a few words like ``mom″ and ``down.″

The toddler, wearing only a diaper, wandered from the home where she had been sleeping Friday night with her mother and 2-year-old sister, and was found outside at 3 a.m. Saturday.

The child’s 26-year-old mother, whose name was not released, found the girl lying face-down in the snow, her hands curled underneath her body.

The girl’s heart had stopped beating for about two hours and her body temperature had dropped to 60.8 degrees. Her toes were frozen together, and paramedics had trouble getting a breathing tube into the child’s throat because her mouth was frozen shut.

Conradi said two outstanding concerns remained. Frostbite in the baby’s toes and fingers _ which are bandaged _ was being continually assessed. It will take a few weeks before they will be able to know if some of her toes and fingers require amputation. The girl was on morphine for pain.

Also, it was difficult to tell at this stage if the baby will suffer any serious brain complications in the future.

``She appears normal,″ Conradi said. But he said the mother must keep a close watch on the girl in the months and years ahead _ particularly when she enters school.

He said the emphasis now had moved from emergency care to rehabilitation. The baby will remain in the hospital for a number of weeks because of the frostbite.

Steve Buick, a spokesman for Stollery Children’s Health Center, said in a television interview Monday that Canadians were showering the girl with gifts and donations.

The baby has been smiling and talking to her mother and nurses. She was also curious about the colorful balloons near her crib.

One of the paramedics who helped rescue the girl Saturday was also involved in a rescue of Karlee Kosolofski, a 2-year-old Saskatchewan girl who also survived being frozen outdoors seven years ago.

Krista Rempel, 30, said she was thinking of Kosolofski as she treated the Edmonton baby and felt a strange ``inner peace″ that let her know everything was going to turn out fine.

``When we handed her over to hospital staff, I had a real good feeling _ I knew she was going to live,″ Rempel said.

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