Jean Hilliard, a 19-year-old girl from Lengby, Minnesota, was found frozen solid in the snow. The friend who located Jean took her to the nearby hospital with little hope of survival.
Miraculously, Jean survived and left doctors as well as medical staff baffled.
The Car Accident At Rural Northwestern Minnesota:
On December 20, 1980, Jean was driving back home from a night out with some of her friends. Her car slid on an icy road and lost control into a ditch. Luckily, she was unhurt from this crash.
As Jean was getting late, she took a shortcut on an icy gravel road. It was her Dad’s car with rear-wheel drive, without anti-lock brakes.
Due to the sub-zero temperature and strong winds, she forced her off of the way and into a ditch.
Jean knew a guy named Wally Nelson, who lived down the road. She started walking towards his house, which was about two miles away.
The temperature was −22°C that night, and Jean was wearing cowboy boots. She got frustrated with the extreme weather, and distance was too long to bear.
However, after two miles of walking, she finally saw her friend’s house through the trees.
Jean was so dehydrated and tired that she fainted on the way. The incident happened at 1 am, so there was no one on the streets to help her out.
For around 6 hours, Jean laid unconscious and lying in the snow-covered lawn. She was hardly alive and did not have sufficient energy to call out for help.
The next morning at 7 am, Wally Nelson got out of his house and noticed that his friend lying frozen on the front lawn. He checked if there was any sign of life.
When Wally moved her around, he realized that Jean had already died as her face didn’t look normal.
The Seriousness Of Jean’s Condition:
Wally picked up Jean into his car and went to Fosston Municipal Hospital. Even though Jean showed no apparent signs of being alive, Nelson took the last trench effort to save his friend.
When doctors first saw her, they had no idea how to save her. They were sure that the exposure to unpleasant cold might have caused brain damage.
Jean’s face was ashen, and her eyes were steady, with no response to light. Her pulse was slowed to around 12 beats per minute.
Medics did not have any hopes for her life. They said her skin was so hard that they couldn’t insert a hypodermic needle to get an Intravenous therapy.
Her body temperature was too low to use a thermometer. They realized she was almost dead. Jean was also wrapped in an electric blanket to help her stay warm.
Recovery Of Jean Hilliard After Being Frozen Solid:
Jean Hilliard’s family assembled in prayer, hoping for a miracle. Two hours later, by midmorning, she went into aggressive convulsions and regained consciousness.
On hearing about her daughter, Jean’s mother rushed to the hospital. She held Jean’s hand and kept calling her name.
After some time, Jean started making noises and finally asked for a glass of water. Neither the doctors or the mom were able to imagine the miracle that happened in front of them.
By the end of the day, Jean was capable of moving her arms. Three days later, she was able to move her legs. The doctors were stunned with her improvement. One of the doctors labelled it as a miracle in medical history.
Doctors were concerned and hence kept her in the I.C.U. for six days. The medical staff thawed Hilliard with an electrical warming blanket to help her stay warm. Over the next several hours, Hilliard made a full recovery.
After 49 days of examination, Jean left the hospital without any injury to the brain or body.
However, it was believed that due to the presence of alcohol in her system, her organs stayed unfrozen. This prevented any damage to her body in that dangerous condition.
David Plummer, the professor of medicine from Minnesota University, put forward another theory regarding Jean Hilliard’s miracle recovery.
According to Plummer, as a person’s body cools down, its blood flow slows way down. The body requires less oxygen like a form of hibernation.
If the blood flow increases at the same rate as the body warms up, one can often recover, as Jean Hilliard did.
Jean is now married and is a mother of three children. She lives in Cambridge.
In a recent interview, she mentions that along with the doctors and nurses, the prayer chain helped to save her life.