A British woman suffering from severe hypothermia has been revived by doctors in Spain after more than six hours of cardiac arrest.
Audrey Marsh, who today hailed her survival as "a miracle", collapsed at around 1.00pm on November 3rd when she and her husband were caught in a snowstorm while out walking in the Pyrenees mountains.
It took just over two-and-a-half hours for rescue teams to reach them, with the 34-year-old showing no signs of life or cardiac activity and a body temperature of just 18 degrees Celsius.
Initial efforts to revive her at the scene had no effect and she was flown by helicopter to a Barcelona hospital. By 9.45pm, her body temperature had risen to 30 degrees Celsius, and the doctors tried again to revive her, using a defibrillator. This time, it worked.
"It is like a miracle," March told reporters in Barcelona at a press conference with the doctors who managed to save her.
"It is the longest instance of cardiac arrest survival that we have ever documented in Spain," Dr Eduard Argudo, who heads the unit, told AFP, adding that similar cases had been documented in the Alps and in Scandinavia.
Argudo said part of the reason she survived was due to the hypothermia. "The hypothermia killed her but also saved her at the same time. With the cold, the body's metabolism slows down, the organs need less blood and less oxygen and that helps protect the brain," he explained.
According to The Guardian, Audrey Mash said she was surprised at the attention her case had attracted and said it had not put her off hiking. "I feel like a fraud for not being back at work. I'm hoping to go back before the end of next week," she said on December 5th.