Woman survives life-threatening case of hypothermia

A Medford woman who suffered a dire case of hypothermia after she went missing has been released from the hospital.

A pedestrian found Tatia Greenlee, 37, lying unconscious in a mud puddle near 11th Street on Oct. 12, two days after she was reported missing by her family.

She was hospitalized at Rogue Valley Medical Center with a body temperature of approximately 75 degrees.

"Most people do not survive a core temperature that low," said Dr. Charles Carmeci, a heart surgeon who worked with a team of specialists to save Greenlee's life. Carmeci said Greenlee was one of the most extreme cases of hypothermia he has encountered.

"She was about as dead as you can get and come back," he said.

Carmeci said Greenlee's heart fluttered and stopped beating.

"Her heart was beating barely enough to keep her sustained," he said.

Greenlee's blood was pumped through a warming machine to slowly raise her temperature. She was placed on a ventilator after doctors discovered lung damage, and remained sedated for two weeks while the machine breathed for her, Carmeci said.

Medford Detective Terry Newell said there is no evidence Greenlee was the victim of a crime after speaking with her recently.

"The truth is, she is having trouble recollecting exactly what happened," Newell said. "But we have found no reason to believe someone attempted to harm her. There are no red flags popping up."

Tatia's mother, Wynette Greenlee, who declined comment Tuesday, previously said her daughter's disappearance was highly unusual, but she had been depressed after a breakup with her boyfriend. Tatia Greenlee has a 15-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter.

Greenlee escaped any long-term effects from her ordeal, and her heart, kidneys and lungs appear healthy, Carmeci said.

"For her age group she is one of the coldest survivors I've ever seen," he said. "It took a team effort of elite personnel who do this kind of work hundreds of times a year."

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471, or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.

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