Doctors Team Up With First Responders To Find Out First Hand What Cold Water Rescues Take

UPDATED: Thursday January 24, 2013 6:35 PM

As temperatures dip into the single digits, more central Ohioans are testing the ice in ponds and streams.

On Thursday, two dozen emergency resident doctors from OhioHeath took part in a carefully coordinated cold water rescue training with first responders.

“I was a little nervous, worried about the cold water, that’s for sure,” said Dr. Brooke Johnson.

Johnson is the chief resident at Doctors West Hospital. She jumped into the water to learn what happens before someone bursts through the doors of an emergency room.

The water temperature in Columbus right now is so cold that it would only take minutes for hypothermia to set in.

First responders wear suits to shield them from the city water. Without the protection, firefighters said that in just 30 minutes, brain function slows and physical strength can be reduced by as much as 80 percent.

For the doctors, it was a cold dose of reality on Thursday.

“We see the patient once they come in and deal with the aftermath,” Johnson said.

Doctors helped make the rescue and treat a patient simulator to understand what it is like to save a life in cramped quarters and in the amount of time that it takes to get to a hospital.

“They see it when we bring them and this was from start to finish and I think it was eye-opening for them,” said Heith Good of the Norwich Township Fire Department.

Both the doctors and firefighters left the training with a clearer understanding of each other’s jobs.

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