'Frozen' Boy Recuperates, Is Sent Home

Associated Press

A 2 1/2-year-old boy who wandered off on a bitterly cold day has been released from a hospital more than two months after he was admitted with a body temperature nearly 40 degrees below normal.

"He is in great spirits," Dr. Thomas Rice said as Michael Troche left Milwaukee Children's Hospital last week.

Rice, of the hospital's pediatric intensive care unit, said the boy had suffered nerve damage to the feet and hands so that he cannot walk or pick up small objects, but the toddler is to continue getting physical therapy and is expected to regain much of the use of his feet and hands.

"We don't know exactly what to expect" because of the rarity of Michael's case, Rice said. "But we have seen improvement . . . and expect to continue to see improvement."

20 Below Zero

Doctors said Michael's body core temperature had dropped to 60 degrees, compared with the normal temperature of 98.6, when he was found unconscious outside his home in 20-below-zero cold Jan. 19. The youngster had been outside for about three hours, doctors estimated.

Dr. Kevin Kelly said the boy had no heartbeat, had stopped breathing and his legs and arms felt like "blocks of ice" when he was taken to the hospital. He said medical personnel sensed what felt like "ice in the blood" as they squeezed the tissue.

Oxygenated blood was forced through his body, he was connected with a heart-lung machine to warm the blood and drugs were used to prevent swelling of brain tissues. Doctors also cut the skin of his arms and legs to allow fluids to drain.

Michael lost the tips of three fingers on his left hand, but his neurological functions were described as 100% normal.

He was transferred out of the hospital's intensive care unit Feb. 24.

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