Condition of UMD student found in cold serious but stableAccording to Regions Hospital in St. Paul today, Alyssa Jo Lommel is in serious but stable condition, a step back from last week when she was listed in fair condition, an improvement from critical but stable, as she began communicating with her family.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
The latest message from the family of frostbite victim Alyssa Jo Lommel says plans are being made to talk to her about upcoming surgeries that could include amputations.
According to Regions Hospital in St. Paul today, the University of Minnesota Duluth student is in serious but stable condition, a step back from last week when she was listed in fair condition, an improvement from critical but stable, as she began communicating with her family.
Lommel’s mother, Teri, has indicated that they are taking steps to tell the 19-year-old sophomore about the severe frostbite injuries she suffered Dec. 7 after spending several hours outside in subzero temperatures earlier this month. She said her daughter has been shielded from seeing her hands or feet when bandages are changed. Doctors wanted her to be more lucid before having her face the reality of the frostbite, her mother said.
Last week, the family indicated on the Caring Bridge website that doctors would be doing “some amputations” sometime within the next two weeks.
The latest entry shows that doctors and family are waiting for Lommel to fully understand what is happening regarding her care.
“I talked with her doctor today and he seems to be in agreement that Alyssa is ready to be told about her injuries and the care plan that they have decided on,” her mother wrote Sunday. “I don’t think any of us are ready. I know I am very anxious and dreading it. She really hasn’t asked many questions about her injuries and all the bandages, so the doctor thinks on some level she probably knows it’s not good.”
Lommel was taken to Regions after she was found outside the morning of Dec. 7 on the steps of a neighboring home on Woodland Avenue. She had been dropped off by friends at the driveway to her home about midnight. It’s assumed that she spent more than eight hours in conditions that reached minus-17.
She had been on a ventilator and was unable to communicate with her family until just before Christmas.
Regions became one of the nation’s first burn centers in 1963 with the notion that burns needed specific treatment. It carries patients through from treatment to rehabilitation.
The hospital lists on its website a series of steps in dealing with burns after an initial evaluation. Doctors determine the burn size in order to gauge what is needed to replenish the body via intravenous fluids and feeding tubes.
As in Lommel’s case, patients are put on a respirator until they can breathe on their own.
She has been stable enough since Christmas to accept visitors outside of her family.
A benefit spaghetti dinner for Lommel’s continued care begins at 11 a.m. Sunday in her hometown of St. Cloud. The dinner, silent auction and meat raffle will go until 3 p.m. at Blue Line Sports Bar & Grill South, 1004 Sunridge Drive.
Lommel’s friends will be selling T-shirts.
All money raised will go to Lommel’s Bremer Bank fund. To donate an item, call Esther Widor at (320) 281-3911.