Michael Knapinski, 45, got lost on November 7 in a snowstorm in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State and spent a night in freezing temperatures after he fell and lost consciousness.
He was not found until the next morning by helicopter at a hospital in Seattle. At the moment of arrival he had a pulse, but then his heart stopped.
“She died while in the emergency room,” Jenelle Badulak told the Seattle Times, quoted by the BBC.
The team performed resuscitation maneuvers and connected it to the Extracorporeal Arterial-Venous Membrane Oxygenation Equipment (ECMO), a machine that provided lung and heart function.
45 minutes passed until his heart beat again. Two days later he came out of a coma.
“He and the medical team were crying and I think I cried a little too. It was very special to see someone who has struggled so hard from start to finish wake up in this dramatic and impressive way, ”said Trauma Assistant Whitney Holen.
Knapinski, who is still recovering, told CBS that he started hiking after getting rid of his drug addiction.
“I was a man with poor health and then I started hiking and my lifestyle changed completely,” he said.
The man also revealed that the medical staff refused to give up the fight.
“They did a really great job, they kept me alive.”
In some circumstances, freezing temperatures can be protective for the body and brain. If the heart stops at normal body temperatures for longer, the chances of survival are low due to brain damage. But hypothermia can be life-saving for some people.
Last winter, a woman was brought back to life after fainting while hiking in the Pyrenees, Spain, and was taken to hospital without vital signs. He is thought to have been in cardiac arrest for more than an hour. When the rescue teams arrived, her body temperature was 18 degrees.