Frostbite sidelines patient visiting from New York

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On the first anniversary of his first visit to Minneapolis, Minnesota, David Rice reflects on the eventful and memorable trip.

Back on January 8, 2022, the 35-year-old accountant – a native of New Zealand now based in Brooklyn, NY – and a few friends paid a visit to Minnesota for the weekend to enjoy ice fishing on one of our beautiful lakes, a Minnesota Wild hockey game, and a Minnesota Vikings football game. Unfortunately, David was sidelined at the football game on January 9 by injuries he sustained the night before. That’s when he spent time outside in brutally cold conditions without gloves and it didn’t take long for frostbite to set in. He noticed redness and blistering on his hands when he awoke on Sunday morning to get ready to go to the game at US Bank Stadium. “My hands were starting to get red and blisters were forming, but I didn’t have any pain, so I didn’t think much of it,” he explains.

But after arriving at the game and showing his friends what was happening, they were concerned. “One of my mates said I should stop by one of the first aid stations to get them checked out,” he said. “When the [Hennepin EMS] paramedic saw my hands, she recommended that we go to the other more equipped first aid room. The experienced paramedic there immediately understood the gravity of the situation and called an ambulance to take me to the emergency department at nearby HCMC.” Hyperbaric Chamber hallway, visitor from ny gets frostbite, hyperbaric treatment for frostbite, outpatient wound care, firefighters for healing Hyperbaric Chamber at Hennepin Healthcare David was assessed and then admitted to the Burn Unit where they specialize in the care of frostbite injury. His pregnant wife arrived later that evening flying in from New York.

What was supposed to be a fleeting 36-hour vacation to Minnesota took an unexpected turn. “I was in the Level 1 Trauma Center for nearly a week, with the very real possibility that I would need partial amputation of some fingers. I received daily hyperbaric treatments for my wounds. All of the nurses and doctors at HCMC were incredible. They see this type of injury too often. I guess if you’re going to get frostbite, Minneapolis is one of the best places to be for the care and treatment.”

After being discharged from the inpatient unit, David required outpatient wound care for his injuries. The Burn Center connected David and his wife with temporary housing resources from Firefighters for Healing.

“My wife and I were so grateful for the support offered by Firefighters for Healing. At such a stressful time when the focus needed to be on recovering back to full health, having the ability to stay in a nice, convenient accommodation made such a difference for us. It made the decision easier to stay in Minneapolis and continue the outstanding care at HCMC. I cannot thank them enough.”

This is David’s first winter after his frostbite injury and he said that he “feels the cold a lot more” in his hands and it’s a constant reminder of the injuries sustained during his trip to Minnesota. We’re glad that he’s doing well – and hope that despite the change in plans for his trip to our state, there are a few warm, healing memories still associated with his stay.

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